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Greek PM urges ministers to keep up pace of reforms

A cabinet meeting on Wednesday provided Prime Minister Antonis Samaras with an opportunity to stress to his ministers that they cannot let up in their effort to implement the structural reforms Greece has committed to despite the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund reaching an agreement earlier this week on reducing Greek debt.

Samaras warned his ministers that he would take a hands-on approach to ensure that they are keeping up with the pace of reforms required for Greece to meet the demands of its lenders. “From now on, I will hardly be at the Maximos Mansion [the prime-ministerial office] at all but I will be at ministries regularly,” the premier said, according to sources. “I will be a different prime minister.”

Samaras said that emphasis would be placed on ministries implementing reforms and not straying from their budgets. He said that the aim should be for each ministry to produce a primary surplus. The premier added that 70 percent of this surplus could be used to rectify the impact on some of the austerity measures deemed unfair.

The prime minister also featured on Wednesday in an online promotional video aimed at capitalizing on the change in mood following the announcement of the debt deal earlier this week. “Greece has found itself in difficult positions many times,” he says during the video, which contains numerous historical references. “However, each time it found a way to move forward.”

“Either we outdo ourselves or we let history turn its back on us,” adds Samaras in the spot, which is titled “Greece Begins Now.”

SYRIZA, however, continued to label the debt deal a “failure” and accused the prime minister and his government of performing a “victory dance on the ruins created by their policies.”

An opinion poll by VPRC for Epikaira magazine showed the leftist party building a lead over its political rivals. SYRIZA garnered 31.5 percent, New Democracy 26.5 percent and Golden Dawn 12.5 percent. The two other parties in the coalition, PASOK and Democratic Left, gathered just 5 and 5.5 percent respectively.

A Marc poll for Alpha TV on Tuesday night suggested support for SYRIZA was at 29 percent, compared to 26.2 percent for New Democracy.

ekathimerini.com , Thursday November 29, 2012 (00:18)  
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