Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Tuesday sought to douse renewed speculation about the possible need for a third rescue package for Greece, insisting that the country could manage without additional loans from its European partners.
Addressing a joint press conference in Athens with his visiting Portuguese counterpart Pedro Passos Coelho, whose country completed its international loan program in May, Samaras indicated that Greece was re-establishing control of its finances. “Soon we will be able to certify the sustainability of our debt without new memorandums, without the need for new loans,” he said. Samaras also reiterated his aim to provide tax relief but did not provide any details.
Coelho struck an encouraging tone, referring to the widespread skepticism that had prevailed about Portugal’s prospects of exiting its bailout without additional aid. “I can only applaud the political courage you have shown,” Coelho told Samaras.
Both premiers emphasized the need for a broader shift in Europe toward policies designed to boost growth and create much-needed jobs as well as stressing the need for structural reforms to increase competitiveness.
Their comments came just a few hours after German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble lectured the German parliament on the need for the fiscal discipline that has been championed by Berlin to continue.
Reacting to Samaras’s statements later on Tuesday, leftist opposition SYRIZA remarked that they would be “highly amusing” if he were not Greece’s prime minister. The statement prompted the immediate reaction of government spokeswoman Sofia Voultepsi, who retorted that “Tsipras is the only one who is highly amusing,” referring to the leftists’ leader Alexis Tsipras.
Ahead of Tsipras’s scheduled speech at the Thessaloniki International Fair on Saturday, the party’s secretary Dimitris Vitsas yesterday sought to explain where the leftists plan to find the funding to make good on their pledges to curb unemployment. The money would come from rechanneling state subsidies, cracking down on corruption and rolling over bonds, he told the Parapolitika radio station.