NEWS

PM to seek backing of ND on key reforms

As the government prepares for another difficult week of meetings with representatives of its international creditors, it has emerged that Prime Minister George Papandreou is planning to propose a plan for cooperation to the leader of the main conservative opposition New Democracy, Antonis Samaras. Papandreou is due in Brussels tomorrow for talks with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Greece’s progress in pushing through much-needed structural reforms ahead of a crucial European Council summit on December 17. The summit is expected to focus on the creation of a permanent rescue mechanism to support EU member states with burgeoning debt problems such as Greece and Ireland. In the meantime, the government is expecting visits from the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, tomorrow and from the EU’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn on Thursday. The officials are expected to meet with several ministers for an update on the government’s progress in streamlining loss-making public companies and boosting revenue from more efficient tax collection – two major reforms the government pledged to its creditors in return for a 110-billion-euro rescue package. It is these, and other, reforms for which Papandreou aims to win the support of Samaras, sources told Kathimerini. Essentially Papandreou would like the ND leader to back the government’s implementation of reforms it has agreed with its creditors in principle and to discourage public protests and strikes. In return, the premier is reportedly willing to attempt a renegotiation of certain aspects of the agreement between Greece and its creditors known as the «memorandum.»