NEWS

Samaras draws line at default

The leader of the main conservative opposition New Democracy, Antonis Samaras, on Wednesday declared that his party opposed any kind of default, including selective default, the prospect of which Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos had sought to play down earlier in the week, provoking a sharp response from the latter, who said that opposition politicians should be supporting the government at this difficult time.

?The word default is banned from our dictionary,? Samaras told his party?s political committee. ?Its mere utterance can have catastrophic consequences,? he added, noting that selective default had never occurred in another EU country.

?Social cohesion demands that we examine our next step, not that we adopt what appears to be the least damaging of options, but what might actually turn out to be the most damaging,? said Samaras, who reiterated his backing for a Eurobond.

The opposition leader?s comments provoked a sharp response from Venizelos, who suggested that Samaras was being petty.

?Word games and stating the obvious do not help us in any way,? the minister said in a written statement.

?Instead they are harmful, creating confusion and uncertainty without reason.?

Venizelos condemned Samaras for failing to ?support the government in its efforts and to show a responsible and levelheaded approach on issues so as to benefit the country.?

The minister added that he hoped the opposition leader would change his stance ?as soon as possible,? another appeal for the cross-party consensus that has eluded the government but which the country?s foreign creditors have called for to facilitate the implementation of a new raft of austerity measures.