PM expresses guarded optimism at meeting with president

The government is fighting to avert the risk of Greece being pushed out of the eurozone and to put the economy on the road to recovery, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told Greek President Karolos Papoulias during a briefing on Tuesday.

“I think the ship is beginning to turn around,» the prime minister said arriving at the Presidential Mansion prior to the meeting, where he briefed Papoulias on his talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande in Berlin and Paris over the weekend.

“We are fighting to strengthen the country’s negotiating power,» Samaras told the president. «To bring about what we, the three party leaders in the government, have promised: recovery.”

Samaras is due to meet won Wednesday with his coalition partners — socialist PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left chief Fotis Kouvelis — where the focus will be on some 11.5 billion euros in austerity measures being demanded by Greece?s creditors — the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, known as the troika.

“The drachma lobby has lost an important round,» Samaras told Papoulias in reference to opposition to Greece’s bailout deal, or Memorandum of Understanding, with its creditors.

“We have a long road ahead, with final but difficult decisions,» the prime minister added.