Venizelos indirectly rebukes PM over cuts

Socialist PASOK chief Evangelos Venizelos on Thursday appeared to rebuke the leader of the country's tripartite coalition, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, for acting without his coalition partners' endorsement by remarking that the Greek administration «is not a one-party government» and repeating his call for coalition leaders to sign off a new package of austerity measures before it is presented to foreign creditors.

In an interview broadcast on Real radio station, Venizelos described PASOK's role within the government as «encouraging, supporting and monitoring.» The statement came a few days after sources close to Samaras indicted that Venizelos was seen to be distancing himself from the tough decisions the government is preparing to take to secure crucial rescue funding.

An 11.5-billion-euro austerity package currently being drafted by coalition party officials does not yet have the backing of Venizelos and Fotis Kouvelis, of the Democratic Left, who both harbor serious doubts about some of its more onerous terms though have insisted they will not jeopardize the country's prospect for clinching rescue loans.

In his interview on Thursday, Venizelos insisted that the austerity package should not be made public before all party leaders have rubber-stamped it. «The measures will not be announced before we discuss them,» he said. «How can they be announced just like that?» he said.

Earlier in the week Samaras rejected a demand by Venizelos for party leaders to discuss the package ahead of the scheduled arrival in Athens on Friday of envoys representing Greece’s troika of foreign lenders, the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund. Venizelos is said to have pushed for the meeting as soon as possible “in view of the ever-thickening developments” ahead of the trioika’s visit.

Sources told Kathimerini that Venizelos was annoyed that he and Kouvelis had not been debriefed by Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on the latter’s talks with his German counterpart in Berlin on Tuesday.


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