Greece’s Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras, has asked for more time for his country to meet the requirements needed in order to receive the country’s next installment of bail out funds.
Prime Minister Samaras told German newspaper Der Bild that his country needed more “breathing space” to get the country’s economy back on track. He is expected to ask for more time in a meeting Wednesday (Aug 22) with Jean-Claude Juncker the head of the Eurogroup of finance ministers. He has intimated in previous interviews that two more years may be needed to implement the additional spending cuts of € 11.5 billion euro (US$14.3 billion) asked for by Euro lenders before Greece can receive the next tranche of aid payment worth €31.5 billion euro.
“We are not asking for additional money,” Samaras said. “We stand by our commitments and to the fulfillment of the guidelines. But we have to stimulate the economy because that will shrink the deficit. All we want is a little breathing space to get the economy going and increase state revenues.”
Samaras’ call for more time will most likely fall on deaf ears. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is under increasing pressure at home not to give in to further concessions. The Troika’s (the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the IMF) next report on Greece’s progress in achieving its austerity measures (currently in production) is thought will conclude that Greece must make €14 billion euro cuts instead of €11.5 billion. Even the Greek government has stated that if they are granted two extra years they will need an additional €20 billion euro.
When Samaras was asked in the Bild interview about a possible return to the drachma, his clear-cut reply was: “For God’s sake no. The consequences would be catastrophic for Greece… It would be a nightmare: economic collapse, social unrest and a never-before-seen democratic crisis.”