ND, PASOK see deal as step backward

New Democracy and PASOK accused the government Tuesday of taking the country backward after eurozone finance ministers approved the set of proposals put forward by the coalition, paving the way for a four-month extension to the country’s loan agreement.

“In the end, we met SYRIZA at the exit to the memorandum,” New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras said in a statement. “We were leaving just as they were in a rush to get in.”

Samaras argued that many of the proposals made by the government were same as the ones that his administration had made in an e-mail from then Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis to the troika.

“The e-mail sent by [Finance Minister Yanis] Varoufakis to the troika serves as a bridge to a new memorandum, whereas the Samaras government had been on the way to exiting the memorandum and moving to a precautionary credit line which would allow it to borrow from the markets,” added the statement.

Samaras suggested that the government is adopting the pension reforms that his coalition was not able to complete and that it would scrap exemptions from value-added tax, leading to the special rate for islands being scrapped.

PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos offered similar criticism of the government’s handling of negotiations.

“Just as we were poised to exit the memorandum and take up a precautionary credit line with much more comfortable terms, we are stuck with the old memorandum for month and are preparing for a third memorandum from July,” said the ex-deputy prime minister.

Venizelos suggested that the government drawing up its own list of proposals was not an advantage but a move by Greece’s lenders designed to “punish” the current coalition.