August 22, 2012
Samaras "We need breathing space"
'Greek exit could end democracy in Greece'
Eurogroup leader Jean-Claude Juncker met with Prime Minister Samaras in Athens today, and Samaras pressed for Juncker's support for a two year extension on the current treaty obligations facing Greece. Juncker said everything depends upon the troika report coming out after another survey in Athens by the leadership in September.
Samaras is waiting for a direct response by German chancellor Merkel on the idea of extensions. Samaras is also meeting with French Premiere Hollande this week, presumably to gain support for time extensions. Currently Greece is facing treaty obligations of €11.5 billion in cuts, which has proven hard to achieve (the bail-out program requires Greece to cut 5.5% of spending ratio to GDP.)
Samaras interviewed in the German language Bild.de
Samaras insisted (bild.de) Greece would fulfill all requirements and that he personally guaranteed Greece would repay debts to Germany. Samaras described the dire Greek situation with the statistic of a 35% contraction in living standards, and a further collapse of up to 70% was certain if Greece returned to the Drachma.
Samaras stated that no additional money was needed, instead just space to accomplish treaty goals. He also said that with a exit from the eurozone, the threat of a situation like that of the Weimar republic (which presaged the rise of Nazi Germany) was possible.
Observation: That Samaras is asking for extensions is possibly the only worthwhile item he can ask for. Saying Greece requires no additional money is a dodge, because no additional money is coming whether he asks or not. The only funding to be hoped for is the already scheduled tranche payments, and that is the issue at hand and the point at which Samaras hopes to deflect some of the required pain required in cutting further into public spending. Couching the atmosphere in a direct comparison to the pre-Hitler Germany is probably a strategic way to describe the situation, considering the rise in popularity of the Greek political party Golden Dawn.
As has been the case throughout the summer, the real matter rests with Chancellor Merkel, as it is her clout in Germany (and the EU) that keeps the 'Troika Plan' on track through multiple Greek parliaments and mounting opposition all over europe.