Samaras accepts fiscal program but asks for 'modifications'

In a letter to European Union leaders, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has said his coalition government accepts “ownership” of Greece’s fiscal adjustment program, as well as the targets contained in it, but argues that Athens will need some “modifications” due to the poor state of its economy.

Samaras sent the letter with President Karolos Papoulias, who is representing Greece as the prime minister cannot travel after having surgery to fix a retina problem.

Papoulias is expected to reaffirm Greece’s position, which is likely to focus on asking for the fiscal adjustment period to be extended by at least one year from 2014. But no decisions on the issue are expected at the EU summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

The full text of the prime minister’s letter:

As I have already informed you, I will unfortunately not be able to attend the current European Summit, due to an eye operation I had to undergo. Greece will be represented by the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Karolos Papoulias.

With this letter I would like to reassure you that Greece is absolutely determined to fulfill its obligations emanating from the recent bail-out agreement.

The new Government of Greece accepts ownership of the adjustment Programme and is fully committed to its targets, its objectives and all its key policies.

I will speed up the implementation of the Programme with special emphasis on the Privatisation agenda.

Of course, there is a question of some necessary modifications to the Programme in order to control unprecedented unemployment and halt the devastating recession Greece is going through for the fifth consecutive year. This would also ensure that all targets are met.

I am looking forward to meeting you, as soon as my medical doctors allow me to travel. 

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