New Democracy waits for outcome of talks

New Democracy maintained a relatively low profile Thursday as it waited to see the outcome of the government’s negotiations with the eurozone.

The conservatives find themselves in a difficult position as they do not want their criticism of the SYRIZA-Independent Greeks coalition to appear like support for the stubborn negotiating line taken by the country’s lenders.

New Democracy spokesman Costas Karagounis was mildly critical of the government in his comments Thursday, which came after Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis submitted a request for Greece’s loan agreement to be extended by six months.

“We hope that at Friday’s Eurogroup, the confusion and uncertainty will end and that there will be an agreement,” he said, accusing the government of “playing with words” in order to disguise the fact that it is signing up to extend the same bailout program implemented by the previous government.

The conservative parliamentary spokesman, Adonis Georgidadis, was less reticent in his comments. “Welcome, what took you so long?” he tweeted, accusing the government of signing up to a “new memorandum.”

PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos followed a similar line. He said that the coalition is essentially signing up to a new bailout and pointed out that the previous government’s strategy was to complete the last troika review and then borrow from international bond markets with the support of a precautionary credit line.

“After losing valuable time in a supposed tough negotiation that was only for domestic consumption, the government has accepted the truth and is asking for an extension of the loan agreement, which is accompanied by the memorandum and the program,” said Venizelos, who is due to step down in May.

The PASOK leader said he hoped that Greece would “sooner or later progress along the road of truth and responsibility.”