NEWS

PM Samaras sees Greek economy rebounding

The Greek economy is already rebounding, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said Thursday during a visit to the Corinth-Patra (Olympia) highway construction site in the Peloponnese where works resumed after being halted by the crisis.

“The sacrifices of the Greek people are bearing fruit. Every passing day shows that Greece is raising its head and rolling up its sleeves,” Samaras said adding that the country-wide road construction projects will create thousands of jobs.

“Greece is turning a page… Recovery is within our sights,” the prime minister said.

Samaras was joined by coalition partners Evangelos Venizelos, leader of PASOK socialists, and Democratic Left spokesman Nikos Tsoukalis who replaced his party leader Fotis Kouvelis who is on a trip abroad.

The Olympia highway project is expected to be completed by October 2015. A total of 25,000 jobs will be created.

Samaras has attached much significance to the restarting of Greece’s highway projects as he has said he believes it can be used as an example of confidence in Greece returning.

The prime minister’s appearance side by side with Venizelos at the construction site was intended to send a message of government unity at a time when PASOK appears unhappy that its request for an immediate VAT reduction for restaurants from 23 to 13 percent was rebuffed.

PASOK had wanted the measure to be included in the multi-bill due to be voted through Parliament on Sunday as part of the government’s agreement with the troika. The coalition had agreed to bring the issue up at the next troika review in June but the Socialists felt that the healthier state of public finances meant that the government could push for a rate cut now, ahead of the tourism season.

There is also disquiet within PASOK ranks that New Democracy is trying to take the credit for the fact Greece is heading for a primary budget surplus, given that the conservatives opposed the fiscal measures in the first bailout.