NEWS

Papoulias to head team at EU summit

President Karolos Papoulias will lead a ministerial delegation representing Greece at the European Union leaders? summit in Brussels later this week, replacing Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who is recovering from an eye operation, the premier?s office said on Monday.

Samaras originally had appointed Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos to lead a team comprising outgoing Finance Minister Giorgos Zannias and Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis. But officials in Brussels countered that this appointment violated EU laws requiring prime ministers or heads of state at such summits, so Papoulias is to lead the team.

Kathimerini understands that the president will aim to reassure EU leaders that Athens will honor its commitments to creditors, with a possible renegotiation of the bailout terms to be sought by coalition leaders at a later date.

Meanwhile Berlin hardened its stance vis-a-vis Athens, with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble calling on Athens to try harder to implement reforms rather than seeking to ease bailout terms. ?We have to fight the causes of the crisis,? Schaeuble told German television network ZDF. ?Anyone who believes money alone or bailouts or monetary policy at the ECB will solve the problem is wrong,? he said. The spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Steffen Seibert, said no decision would be taken on the Greek bailout until after foreign creditors? issue their review. ?Do not expect any decision on Greece,? he said.

In a phone call with Samaras on Monday night, US President Barack Obama was reportedly more encouraging, wishing the Greek premier a speedy recovery and reiterating Washington?s support for Greece?s efforts to boost its economy and remain in the eurozone.