BERLIN (AP) — Greece won't ask for a new loan or seek to change the aid program agreed with international lenders, the country's prime minister said Friday.
Speaking after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said Greece is on track to meet the austerity targets imposed by the European Union's executive branch, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund in return for bailout funds.
"I believe we are going to soon have a recovery and that will fully eliminate our budget deficit that will also allow us to cover interest payments (on international loans)," Samaras told reporters. "There will not be a need for a new memorandum or new money," he added. Greece has been dependent on international rescue loans since May 2010, after rising interest rates left it unable to borrow from bond markets.
Germany, which has resisted any change to the strict austerity program imposed on Greece, said it was beginning to show bear fruit. "I am more than aware of the sacrifices that this demands of the Greek people but I'm confident that in the future people will be better off once these structural adjustments have been made," said Merkel.
In Greece, the main left-wing opposition party played down the backing Samaras received from Merkel, pointing to the southeast European country's still rampant unemployment. "This is support for the same backward, anti-growth and socially damaging policy," Panos Skourletis, a spokesman for the Syriza party, told private Skai television. "(Samaras) has won support to keep hammering society and to take Greece to the cleaners. So why wouldn't she back him?"