Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is due to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande in less than a month as part of an effort to rebuild faith in Greece among the country’s lenders, Kathimerini understands. Sources said that the meetings with the two leaders are due to take place in Berlin and Paris on August 25 and 26. Samaras is also seeking one-on-one talks with Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi.
The premier hopes to have tangible signs of progress to show when he holds these meetings. Once an agreement has been reached within the coalition government on 11.5 billion euros in cuts for 2013 and 2014, attention will turn to trying to pass some of the measures for this year and next once Parliament resumes its activity on August 20. Samaras and Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras favor frontloading the program, partly with the aim of rebuilding trust with Greece’s creditors.
In parallel, they hope to move forward with privatizations. Stournaras has spoken of the need for a “quick win” to help combat the negative mood. Among the state assets that could be sold this year are the OPAP gaming company, the state lottery and a large plot at Elliniko in southern Athens. The government also aims to have closed or merged 200 public organizations by the end of August.
German politicians continued to cast doubt on whether Greece could meet its targets and stay in the eurozone. Michael Meister, the deputy parliamentary leader of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, told the Sunday edition of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that Greece should not get any additional aid and suggested that the government was incapable of carrying out reforms.