PASOK’s Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left’s Fotis Kouvelis have backed down and agreed to support Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in his bid to please the Troika of international creditors, the EU, ECB and IMF. After opposing the timescale and depth of cuts totalling 11.5 billion euros Venizelos and Kouvelis have now caved in to pressure from Samaras.
reported Venizelos said "If the Prime Minister believes that immediately making 11.5 billion euros in savings is the only way to secure the country’s position in the eurozone, I am obliged to support him. When we cannot agree on a domestic level, it is futile to pursue something on the international level.”
Prior to his change of heart the former Greek finance minister had argued that the government should follow a different plan to that laid out by the Troika, saying
“We must curb the recession and take measures that boost growth as well as achieve fiscal adjustment."
Kouvelis, who had insisted “Society cannot endure any further burdens,” also backtracked on his previous stance of wanting to renegotiate the terms of the bail-out memorandum.
The New York Times
reported that Troika representatives are to extend their stay in Athens indefinitely to oversee progress in reforms and cuts. Although the Troika policy of pursuing austerity measures has clearly failed, driving the country into deeper recession, the international lenders are not for turning. Samaras has said further austerity will deepen the recession but is nevertheless going along with the demands of those pursuing a failed policy.