ATHENS, Greece (AP) â¿¿ Greece's new conservative-led coalition government on Thursday pledged to try and revise the country's austerity commitments to its creditors, but insisted that would not endanger ties with the rest of Europe or Greek use of the euro currency.
The day-old, three-party coalition under Prime Minister Antonis Samaras â¿¿ Greece's fourth in eight months â¿¿ issued a policy statement saying it would seek to serve its full four-year mandate. It also named a 38-member Cabinet that includes prominent banker Vassilis Rapanos, chairman of the National Bank of Greece, in the crucial post of finance minister.
The government's "aim is to tackle the crisis, to open the road to development and to revise the terms of the loan agreement without jeopardizing the country's European course or its presence in the euro," it said.At the same time, the coalition said, Greece will continue to reduce its fiscal deficit, control its debt and implement structural reforms. Greece depends on international rescue loans, granted on condition of a harsh austerity program that has forced deep cuts in incomes and public services, amid soaring unemployment and a deep recession now in its fifth year. After more than six weeks of political deadlock, the formation of a long-term government with broad parliamentary support has soothed global markets and Greece's European partners. "Today, all eyes are on us, both inside and outside Greece. They expect much from us," Samaras said during his first Cabinet meeting. "For the first time in some time, we have built hope and we mustn't betray those expectations that have been invested in us." His new government, he said, "has no period of grace. It must show work from the first minute, and that is what we will do." Samaras announced he was cutting all his ministers' salaries by 30 percent immediately, and would limit the use of state cars by government members to the absolute minimum. He also stressed this was the only time he would allow a Cabinet meeting to be televised.