Greek conservative leader offers lukewarm support for fiscal targets | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 23.11.2011
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Greek conservative leader offers lukewarm support for fiscal targets

Greece has moved one step closer to unfreezing its desperately needed bailout package after conservative leader Antonis Samaras declared he supports the country's fiscal targets with certain "modifications."

Greek parliament

Greece's latest bailout comes with more strings attached

The leader of the conservatives in Greece's national unity government has agreed to support the austerity conditions attached to the country's rescue package, potentially paving the way for the debt-wracked nation to receive the next tranche of bailout money and avoid a sovereign default in December.

The European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had made the release of 8 billion euros ($10.7 billion) in bailout money to Greece contingent upon a written, signed pledge by the leaders of the country's main parties to support new austerity and growth measures.

Antonis Samaras, leader of the conservative New Democracy party, had previously opposed the conditions attached to Greece's latest 130-billion-euro bailout. Samaras has softened his rhetoric, saying in a letter to the EU and IMF that he supports Greece's fiscal targets, but believes certain policies may demand another look.

"On the evidence of the budget execution so far, we believe that certain policies have to be modified," Samaras wrote. "We intend to bring these issues to discussion, along with viable policy alternatives."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, meanwhile, made clear during a budget debate in parliament on Wednesday that Greece would not receive any more aid money until the political parties in Athens signed on to the conditions.

"The Greek question is still unresolved because we do not yet have the preconditions to pay out the next installment," Merkel said.

Author: Spencer Kimball (dpa, AP)
Editor: Michael Lawton

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