In the latest move in the power game over the written commitment that EU leaders have asked Pasok and New Democracy to cosign, Antonis Samaras on Wednesday sent a letter to the European Union and IMF reiterating his support for the new prime minister and for fiscal adjustment targets.
He noted, however, that “certain policies have to be modified”.
The New Democracy leader, who has been under heavy pressure for over a week to sign such a letter, sent the letter to the European Commission, the ECB, the IMF and the Eurogroup.
On Wednesday evening Prime Minister Lucas Papademos received Samaras at the Maximos Mansion. The prime minister briefed the ND leader on his contacts over the previous days in Brussels, Luxembourg and Frankfurt.
The two men also discussed, in depth, the issue of political party leaders' signatures.
The content of Samaras's letter largely resembles the one he sent to the leader of the European People's Party on November 13, the text of which was published on Tuesday.
It was not immediately clear whether the letter would satisfy the EU and IMF, who have demanded all Greek political parties sign a written commitment to back austerity measures beyond the term of the current national unity government.
Earlier on Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that if Samaras did not sign, an 8bn euro bailout payment would not be released.
What follows is the full text of the Samaras letter:
Athens, November 23, 2011
As stated in the meeting of the three Party Leaders under the auspices of the President of the Hellenic Republic C. Papoulias: “it has been agreed upon that the task of the new Government will be to materialize the decisions taken at the European Council of October 26th 2011 and to implement the economic policies linked to those decisions”.
The new Prime Minister has already pledged to fulfil this task.
Nea Demokratia [New Democracy] is committed to support the new Prime Minister.
Nea Demokratia is strongly committed to the success of fiscal consolidation and structural reforms, rebuilding market confidence and fostering economic growth.
Nea Demokratia fully supports the targets of fiscal adjustment, regarding all issues on eliminating the deficit and reversing the debt dynamics; it also supports “tools” already implemented (albeit poorly); namely, public expenditure cutting, fighting tax evasion, structural reforms, privatization programs and capitalizing on idle real estate public property.
On the evidence of the budget execution so far, we believe that certain policies have to be modified, so as to guarantee the Program’s success. This is more so, since according to the latest European Economic forecasts, Greece in 2012 will be the only European country with 5 consecutive years in recession!
We intend to bring these issues to discussion, along with viable policy alternatives, strictly within the framework outlined by the Program. We give great emphasis to allowing for prompt recovery, so that public revenues generated will help us achieve the targets set.
We also attribute special emphasis to the implementation procedures which have to be streamlined and upgraded.
The commitment of the Greek people and of Nea Demokratia to the European Union and the Euro is strong and irrevocable.
Nea Demokratia believes that Greece can get out of the crisis and safeguard its social cohesion.
We are committed to make that happen.
Antonis C. Samaras
President of Nea Demokratia