NEWS

Samaras wants focus on growth

New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras said Friday that although the new package for Greece had some positive elements, it was a confirmation of the failure of the first loan agreement, or memorandum.

Samaras has been a critic of many of the austerity measures included in the 110-billion-euro deal agreed last year between Greece, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund and he insisted that the government should admit that the memorandum had failed.

?Fourteen months ago, we heard that a 110-billion-euro loan would stave off bankruptcy and that we would return to the markets in 2011,? he said in a statement.

?Today, we learn that we will need another loan, to the tune of 109 bullion euros, and that it is not known when Greece will return to the markets.?

Samaras conceded there were some good aspects to the new agreement but said that emphasis should also be placed on stimulating growth.

?The improvement of the terms of borrowing is a positive step but it will not be enough unless we can overcome the recession,? he said.

Samaras added that without a stimulus ?we will just be prolonging the life of an economy that is slowly dying.?

Leftist parties KKE, SYRIZA and Democratic Left dismissed the new deal as not being bold enough, while Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader Giorgos Karatzaferis said Greece would not be able to recover unless there is consensus among its political parties.

Democratic Alliance leader Dora Bakoyannis said that the agreement gave Greece ?breathing space? but that the government had to ?pick up the pace.?