NEWS

PM plays down talk of looming aid appeal

It seemed almost certain yesterday that debt-ridden Greece will ask its eurozone partners and the International Monetary Fund to activate an emergency loan scheem soon after Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou sought additional talks about the aid plan. But Prime Minister George Papandreou sought to play down the possibility of an imminent appeal by Greece for up to 45 billion euros of funds to be released. «Whether we will use the mechanism or not will be decided over the course of time,» Papandreou said. He added that cooperation between the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF «is a fact, as there is supervision [of Greece] by these three bodies» and noted that the involvement of the IMF in the rescue plan was «a decision taken by the European Union, which doesn’t always have faith in its own powers.» Meanwhile, sources told Kathimerini that the leadership of the main opposition party New Democracy remained firmly opposed to any role by the IMF in a financial rescue plan for Greece. But prominent ND deputy, and former foreign minister, Dora Bakoyannis, told Skai that she opposed the «demonization of the IMF» and suggested that the PASOK government make the possible involvement of the fund a topic of debate in Parliament. In a related development, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is planning a visit to Greece in the middle of next month, was quoted as saying that he was planning to send to Athens his Economy Minister Ali Babacan to explain how Turkey overcame the impact of the global financial crisis.