Samaras, Rapanos to miss EU summit as troika delays visit

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and incoming Finance Minister Vassilis Rapanos will not be able to attend the European Union leaders? summit at the end of next week due to health problems, the government said on Sunday.

Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou issued a statement saying that Samaras was under strict orders from his doctors not to travel to the two-day summit, which starts on Thursday, after undergoing eye surgery for a detached retina on Saturday.

Would-be Finance Minister Vassilis Rapanos remains in hospital after feeling faint on Friday and complaining of stomach pains. Doctors are continuing tests on the outgoing National Bank president, who is expected to be discharged from hospital on Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning.

“The orders of his doctor are for him not to travel and to stay at home for a few days,» said Kedikoglou. The hospital said his condition was «good and improving.”

Kedikoglou added that Greece would be represented at the EU summit by Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos. He will be joined by outgoing Finance Minister Giorgos Zanias, Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras and Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis.

A government official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said inspectors from Greece’s «troika» of lenders – the EU, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund – were considering postponing «for a few days» a visit to Athens that was due to start on Monday.

The coalition government unveiled on Saturday the main points of Greece?s bailout program that it would like to renegotiate with the troika. Athens will seek tax cuts, extra help for the poor and unemployed, a freeze on public sector lay-offs and two more years to cut its deficit.

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