NEWS

PM wants to lift economic gloom

In an attempt to convince the public of the necessity of Greece turning to emergency loans from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, Prime Minister George Papandreou will attempt to overturn the current negative climate by publicly addressing voters later this week. Sources said yesterday that the government is growing increasingly worried about public concern regarding the IMF’s involvement in the support scheme but more importantly that the Washington-based fund will ask that more austerity measures be adopted next year. This prospect is also making many PASOK members uneasy and Papandreou realizes that he has a tough task to convince them that further spending cuts and tax hikes will be required. Papandreou spent most of the day yesterday in discussion with some of his closest advisers, including State Minister Haris Paboukis, government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis and Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou. It was decided that Papandreou has to personally intervene to change the somber mood that has accompanied the gradual realization in Greece that the country will not be able to avoid asking for emergency loans from its eurozone partners and the IMF. It is likely that Papandreou will respond by delivering a public address this week in which he will attempt to convince the Greek people that the support mechanism is a viable solution for Greece’s problems. Papaconstantinou indicated yesterday that it could be just a matter of a few weeks before Greece calls for help from the EU and the IMF in meeting is debt payments. «There is no chance that Greece will be left hanging in May,» he said. Talks with officials from the IMF, the EU and the European Central Bank are due to begin in Athens today.