Greek bailout wishlist sets up showdown with Europe leaders

City A.M. Reporter
GREECE’S new government promised yesterday to renegotiate the terms of the country’s bailout without endangering its future in the euro, responding to intense pressure to ease mounting social tensions but also risking a showdown with European powers.

The three-party coalition called for changes to the deal that is helping Greece avoid bankruptcy after the announcement of an 18-member cabinet dominated by the conservative New Democracy party of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

National Bank Chairman Vassilis Rapanos was named finance minister and New Democracy deputy leader Dimitris Avramopoulos became foreign minister.

Once jailed for fighting Greece’s 1967-74 military dictatorship, Rapanos must now cure its sick public finances while negotiating with Eurozone leaders who are losing patience with Athens after two multi-billion euro bailouts since 2010 that have failed to end the crisis.

“The unity government’s goal is to tackle the crisis, open the road to growth and revise terms of the bailout without putting at risk the country’s European course, nor its Eurozone membership,” said a policy document endorsed by the coalition.

Samaras, 61, was sworn in on Wednesday. At his first cabinet meeting, the Harvard-educated economist said his ministers would take a 30 per cent pay cut and told them to use government cars as little as possible in an effort to lead the debt-laden nation by example.