|No reform, no euro cash, Dutch finance minister warns Greece|
The Netherlands will not give its share of bailout funds to Greece if the International Monetary Fund deems Athens has failed to keep its pledges and withholds its next tranche of aid, the Dutch finance minister said in a newspaper interview.
The minister, who took a hard line during negotiations on Greece's second, 130 billion euro bailout earlier this year, has in the past warned the programme remains fraught with risk and that its success depends on Athens' ability to push through reform.
"I will follow the IMF - if it were to say that there is no compliance with the programme and that it can't disburse the next tranche, then we will also withhold our share," Jan Kees de Jager told the Sunday edition of Greece's I Kathimerini newspaper, when asked what his country would do if an IMF report on Greece - due in June - was negative.
The Netherlands, one of the few remaining AAA-rated euro zone nations, is providing funds to the Greek bailout as part of a contribution from euro zone states.
De Jager added that he had no doubt Greece would remain within the euro zone.
"I'm sure that Greece will do everything needed to stay in the euro," he said.
"I'm convinced that Greece can stay in the euro zone if Greek politicians show unity, as is the case with the present government, and implement structural reforms and fiscal cuts." (reuters)
Samaras pleads for clear majority but poll shows ND support waning
Speaking to Sunday’s Kathimerini, Samaras said that if New Democracy could form a government on its own, as prime minister he would have a stronger negotiating position abroad and his administration would be in a better position to make changes at home.
“Untie my hands so I can govern,” Samaras said in a message directed at voters ahead of the parliamentary elections likely to take place on May 6.
However, a new poll by Public Issue for Sunday’s Kathimerini suggests that support for New Democracy is dwindling. The survey has the conservatives leading on 22.5 percent but that is 2.5 percent less than they polled in the first half of March.
New Democracy would likely need to gain more than 35 percent to have any chance of a clear parliamentary majority.
Support for PASOK, on the other hand, rose from 11 percent to 15.5 percent following the election of former finance minister Evangelos Venizelos as party leader.
The Public Issue poll suggests that PASOK has won back some of the support it lost to Democratic Left as the leftist party saw its backing drop from 15.5 percent to 12, which is the same as the Communist Party (KKE).
The Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) rose slightly to overtake both of them with 12.5 percent.
The right-wing nationalist of Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) saw their popularity drop from 4 percent to 2 percent, which would leave the party with no parliamentary seats.
In contrast, the newly formed Independent Greeks, led by New Democracy outcast Panos Kammenos, have gained even more support. According to the poll, their backing rose from 6.5 percent to 8.5 in just two weeks.
In his interview with Sunday’s Kathimerini, Samaras pledged that as prime minister he would not seek to raise taxes to help find the 12 billion euros of savings that the troika has demanded for 2013 and 2014.