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Government agony on "The Great Monday"

24 November 2012 / 21:11:01  GRReporter
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The agony of the government has reached its peak. "The Great Monday" for the Prime Minister is knocking on the door, because on Monday, 26 November, at its new extraordinary meeting, Eurogroup is expected to decide on the transfer of the notorious tranche, considered necessary to stir the Greek economy.

Antonis Samaras is moderately optimistic about the decision. On Saturday, it was expected that the video conference meeting of Finance Ministers of the eurozone, which took place in the late afternoon, would bridge over the International Monetary Fund and eurozone countries, which have disagreements on debt, so that a final decision on the release of the tranche could be reached at the meeting of Eurogroup on Monday. The government believes that these three days will be the most critical of the past years, and associates of the Prime Minister emphasised that contacts and discussions will be held up to the last minute, so that the meeting could finish positively for Greece. Although the European Council ended this afternoon, yesterday evening the Prime Minister decided to stay in Brussels and to leave for Athens on Saturday, which is indicative of the increased level of communication behind the scenes. Samaras had a lot of meetings within the European Council, trying to create the right climate and because of today's conference meeting of Finance Ministers. The contacts with American Finance Minister Timothy Geithner and with Director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, were particularly important, so that understanding on the side of the IMF could be created and a new delay of the positive decision for Greece would not happen.

Antonis Samaras's optimism about the meeting on Monday was strengthened by German Chancellor Angela Merkel's statement that Greece has kept its engagements and that now is the time for Europe to act. Senior government sources noted that if the Greek side hadn't made such titanic efforts to meet the short term obligations on 72 activities, there could have been no hopes for positive progress on Monday, and that if Greece had not met the requirements, European partners would have had no disagreements on what should be done from now on.

According to the Prime Minister, the success expected on Monday will be due to the difficulties Europe is currently experiencing and it is a matter of trust on the side of the European Union what the solution of the Greek problem would be. The negative moment, pointed out by some governmental factors, is that lenders do not seem willing to make a final decision in connection with the long-term management of the Greek debt.

Antonis Samaras informed that European Council President Herman Van Rompuy proposed that Greece should get at least 20% more than the originally proposed, and characterised the European Development Funds' starting level of 11.2 billion euro as very low. Greece's main problem is that economic data from 2007-2009 are used, i.e. before the crisis, but after the government's efforts, Greece's arguments were heard, the Prime Minister said. He hoped that Greece's participation in European funding programmes would significantly improve.

If passed, since the council was interrupted because of disagreements between participants on the allocation of funds, Van Rompuy's proposal for an additional 1 billion euro for Greece will increase the amount from 11.2 to 12.2 billion euro. Additional funds were one of the government's main demands. The draft budget for 2014-2020 is based on Eurostat data for 2008-2010, when the Greek economy had not yet sunk. Thus, for example, based on these outdated data, Attiki appears to be one of the richest areas in the European Union, but the reality is different.

Tags: Antonis Samaras tranche Eurogroup Herman Van Rompuy Structural Funds
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