ATHENS, Greece – Greek Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras, will have his first meeting with the leaders of the Euro block next week, attempting to assure other European leaders that Greece will fulfill the promise of greater austerity and lower its debt if the EU can give more time for his country to carry it out.
After recovering from eye surgery that prevented him from traveling since June, Samaras will travel to Berlin and Paris to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande.
A meeting with the Euro Zone’s finance chief minister Jean-Claude Juncker is also slated earlier in the week, said a Greek government representative.
“However, the dates are not official. These will be announced soon,” said the official, who requested anonymity.
Samaras insists that Greece can meet an austerity package of 11.500 million (14.200 million) – a key condition to continue receiving funding from the European Union (EU) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) – and avoid loss of payments and a possible exit from the monetary union.
Greece is implementing budget cuts and reforms promised in March for a second bail out amount of 130.000 million Euros from the EU and the IMF. This has led to calls from politicians in Germany – Greece’s primary lender – for the country to be expelled from the Euro Zone.
“Our priority is to restore our credibility by showing our resolve,” said Greek Prime Minister Samaras.
Greece has yet to finalize the austerity plan requested, as most of the cuts will come from state salaries and pensions and up to 40,000 from public sector redundancies.
Two minor leftist parties within the ruling coalition have expressed their opposition to the cuts.
Samaras is already preparing the public for more suffering. “We are all going through hard times. There will be more difficulties later on,” said the Greek Prime Minister earlier this week from his summer home in the southern region of Messinia.
EU officials told Reuters last month that Athens was far from meeting the objectives of its rescue plan, making the country unable to pay what it owes and making debt restructuring a necessity.