Monday, September 3, 2012

Greek PM sings in tune, now must hit the hard notes

(Reuters) - When Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the euro zone's finance ministers, arrived in Athens last week, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras ran down red-carpeted steps to envelope him in a warm embrace.

In front of the man representing Greece's biggest creditor, the governments of the euro zone, Samaras was understandably eager to make an impression, and duly pledged to do his utmost to win back Europe's trust.

The conservative leader was not always so keen.

Barely nine months ago he infuriated European officials by refusing to give his written backing to austerity policies demanded in return for the rescue funds that spared Greece from financial collapse.

Given his history of dubious political choices that included voting against Greece's first bailout, Samaras has surprised many - including some officials among skeptical EU and IMF lenders - by trumpeting his resolve to push through cuts and reforms that have tripped up previous leaders. Read More