NEWS

Greek PM eyes progress on reforms after Merkel talks

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is set to unveil on Wednesday the government’s plans for cutting down on the bureaucracy faced by entrepreneurs in the wake of a trip to Germany that left him in no doubt of the importance of convincing Greece’s lenders that structural reforms are being implemented.

Samaras met with Chancellor Angela Merkel Tuesday after appearing at a business conference on Monday. Merkel said before the talks that she was keen to hear about the progress that Greece is making on reforms. Samaras stressed the “enormous efforts” and “great sacrifices” being made by Greeks.

“We are trying to win back credibility among the peoples of Europe and financial markets,” he said.

Sources said that Samaras was left with the distinct impression from his discussions with Merkel and German businessmen that Athens has until the end of March to show real progress in terms of privatizations and cutting back on red tape for firms if it hopes to convince investors that the business environment is improving.

Samaras explained that together with Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis he would set out a timeline Wednesday showing the steps the government intends to make to reduce bureaucracy.

However, the prime minister is also said to have stressed to Merkel the need for initiatives to boost liquidity in Greece, such as increasing European Union structural funds and making better use of existing financing from the EU and European Investment Bank.

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