NEWS

Papademos insists gov’t on track

Prime Minister Lucas Papademos has sought to strike an upbeat tone on the prospects of his interim government, despite the massive hurdles and shortfalls in meeting budget targets, insisting that reform efforts are on track and seeking to keep all three coalition party leaders fully briefed on progress.

?The government is proceeding effectively in the implementation of measures laid out in its program,? Papademos wrote in his blog, taking stock of his first month in government.

With speculation about new austerity measures raging, despite the insistence of Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos that such a prospect is not currently being discussed with creditors, Papademos said that the budget would put Greece on the path to fiscal recovery if it is properly executed. ?As long as it is implemented, it will substantially change the country?s fiscal position and pave the way for a gradual recovery from next year,? Papademos said.

The premier added that his coalition administration ? which comprises Socialist PASOK, conservative New Democracy and the rightwing Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) ? has great potential having secured the release of a sixth tranche of rescue funding from the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund and having approved the budget for next year with a grand parliamentary majority of 258 votes.

Papademos spoke with LAOS leader Giorgos Karatzaferis on Tuesday and was to speak on Wednesday with PASOK leader George Papandreou and then with ND leader Antonis Samaras on his return from a trip to Israel.

On Thursday Papademos is to convene a cabinet session following talks with top envoys from the EC, ECB and IMF, or the troika.