NEWS

ND, PASOK say coalition signed up to tough terms

Former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Thursday ratcheted up the rhetoric of the main opposition New Democracy party, which he still leads, in a scathing statement which accused the SYRIZA-led coalition of misleading voters over the agreement signed at the February 20 Eurogroup, which, he insisted, is an extension of the memorandum followed by the previous government.

In a long statement, Samaras accused the SYRIZA coalition with Independent Greeks (ANEL) of “not only not tearing up the memorandum but co-signing it” and said he was making public the text of the extension agreement, which the government has said it will bring to Parliament for discussion but not for a vote. Reacting to the claim, government spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis said the document has been online since February and accused Samaras of being in a “strategic impasse,” slamming the government for putting the country at risk by not adopting measures on the one hand and then accusing it of secretly signing the memorandum.

Samaras called on the government to “stop the backtracking and delays, the games with slogans and symbols, and to show a responsible attitude” by implementing the February 20 agreement. “Every day that goes by, the real economy is collapsing,” he said, adding that “the bill to be footed by society is growing.”

The line ND should take vis-a-vis SYRIZA and ANEL is expected to be the focus of a session of the conservative party’s political council on Friday.

PASOK, the junior partner in the former government coalition, also took a hard line opposite the ruling coalition on Thursday. PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos struck a similar tone to Samaras, accusing the government of signing the same agreement as the previous coalition but with the addition of an extremely tough condition. “They took the 11 billion euros out of their hands… at a time that the country has acute funding needs,” Venizelos said, referring to the reserves in Greece’s bank bailout fund that were transferred back to the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) last month. “Now the government is begging for the return of 1.2 billion euros it says it overpaid.”