NEWS

Samaras meets with Merkel in Brussels

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Brussels on Friday morning, on the sidelines of an European Union summit meeting which began on Thursday.

During the meeting, also attended by Greece?s Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, Alternate Finance Ministetr Christos Staikouras and Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis, Merkel was briefed on the ongoing negotiations between the Greek government and the country?s creditors — the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, collectively known as the troika — as well as progress being made in the area of structural reforms, in view of the country receiving 31.5 billion euros, the next tranche of a 130-billion-euro rescue package.

According to reports, the German Chancellor stressed the need for Greece to put EU funding programs into better use.

Meanwhile, leaders from the 27-member European Union zone issued a joint-statement regarding Greece in the early hours of Friday.

?We welcome progress made by Greece and the troika towards reaching an agreement on the policies underpinning the adjustment programme and look forward to the conclusion of the ongoing review. The Eurogroup will examine the outcome of the review in light of the troika report and will take the necessary decisions,? read the statement.

?We welcome the determination of the Greek government to deliver on its commitments and we commend the remarkable efforts by the Greek people. Good progress has been made to bring the adjustment programme back on track. We expect Greece to continue budgetary and structural policy reforms and we encourage its efforts to ensure swift implementation of the programme. This is necessary in order to bring about a more competitive private sector, private investment and an effective public sector. These conditions will allow Greece to achieve renewed growth and will ensure its future in the euro area.?

Also in Brussels, French President Francois Hollande accepted an official invitation launched by Samaras to visit Athens.

An extra Eurogroup meeting has now been scheduled to take place on October 29, ahead of a scheduled meeting of EU finance ministers on November 12.

Back in Athens, a new set of 13.5 billion euro austerity measures for 2013 and 2014 will have to be voted in Parliament by November 11.