At European summit on youth unemployment, Samaras pleads Greek case

Amid speculation about the troika demanding more austerity measures from Greece, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras again insisted on Tuesday that “Greek society has reached its limits.”

Addressing his European peers at a summit in Paris on tackling youth unemployment, Samaras emphasized that “Greece has been hard hit by a protracted recession” and underlined the problem of unemployment, noting that it was at the “unacceptable level of 59 percent” for young Greeks. He pointed to the need for a “combination of structural reforms in the economy and the labor market.”

European leaders attending the summit agreed to make fighting youth unemployment a priority but pledged no additional funding beyond the 6-billion-euro investment promised following talks on the same subject in Berlin in July.

According to sources, Samaras’s advisers are pressing him not to yield to the pressure of the troika and to persist in securing an acknowledgement from the auditors of Greece’s progress with its economic reforms. Greek officials are expected to adopt a similar stance at Thursday’s Eurogroup summit.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was at the Paris summit but Samaras is not expected to have one-to-one talks with her until next week when he is to visit Berlin.

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