NEWS

PM wants swift deal with troika on return

The quick conclusion of talks with the troika is the Greek government’s main aim once it officially assumes the rotating presidency of the European Union next week.

Greece is due to make its debut as the holder of the six-month presidency on January 8, when the College of EU Commissioners will be in Athens for the opening ceremony. A total of some 70 European officials are expected, with the pressure on the government to show that despite the country’s ongoing economic problems and negotiations with the troika, it can handle the responsibility of being at the helm of the EU.

“It is a fair opportunity for Greece to present itself as an equal and sovereign member state of the European Union, capable of conducting the business of the Council of the European Union in the name of all the 28 member states,” Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos told Euronews in an interview.

However, the return of troika officials, who are expected in Athens on January 15, is also weighing on government officials’ minds. Sources said that Samaras would like to see the outstanding items with Greece’s lenders, which include this year’s fiscal gap, to be wrapped up quickly, allowing Athens to focus on confirming the 2013 primary surplus in April and opening up talks on debt relief.