PM eyes stability, says opposition proposals could undermine debt effort

As the government presses on with efforts to relaunch a stalled economic review with the troika and clinch a post-bailout agreement with the country’s international creditors, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has insisted on the need for both political and economic stability in an article in Sunday’s Kathimerini, claiming that opposition proposals could push Greece back to the brink of bankruptcy or a eurozone exit.

In his article, Samaras noted that, in order to safeguard political stability, the current Parliament must appoint a new president in elections early next year. Another challenge is to certify the sustainability of Greece’s debt, Samaras said, noting that his government has already taken steps toward reducing the country’s debt and would “seek new relief.”

Without naming SYRIZA, Samaras made it clear that opposition pressure to obstruct presidential elections in a bid to force snap polls and its insistence on a debt write-off were risky tactics that could sabotage progress in fiscal adjustment. “He who returns the country to the time of deficits does not thus strike at austerity,” Samaras said. The premier added that the absence of an agreement with creditors certifying the sustainability of Greek debt would essentially block Greece from capital markets. In a clear dig at SYRIZA, he added that “those who have such things in mind are leading Greece backward – either to bankruptcy, which we narrowly avoided, or to a euro exit, which we narrowly averted.”

The government wants to conclude the current troika review and reach an agreement with creditors on debt relief. The government responded at the end of last week to a to-do list of reforms sent by the troika and is awaiting the latter’s reply. Once the review has resumed, the aim is for Greece to secure an agreement at a summit of eurozone finance ministers on December 8 that ensures the country can rely on a precautionary credit line next year, after the European arm of its international bailout ends. Once this credit line is in place, Samaras wrote in his article, “the prospects for the future of the Greek economy will skyrocket” while interest rates will fall.

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