Five ‘Hot’ Days in December

samaras-venizelosStarting today, the Greek coalition government enters a “hot” five-day period in which it has to fight several hard battles on different fronts.

The most important battle is the one against the Troika of Greece’s international lenders who seem to insist on their position and strict demands. The Finance Ministry and other state officials have been convening non-stop in order to present new proposals and convince the creditors’ representatives to return for the final review before the crucial Eurogroup on Monday, December 8.

If they do, and an agreement is reached, it will be a positive step for Athens for Monday’s talks with EU Finance Ministers in Brussels. However, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras announced that he will not accept any “unreasonable demands” from the Troika, making an agreement even more difficult. Meanwhile, Samaras and government Vice President Evangelos Venizelos called on European state leaders, asking for more lenience from the Troika.

Tomorrow, the Greek Premier will welcome Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and several Turkish state officials for a two-day Greek-Turkish High Level Cooperation Council. At the moment, the two countries are in disagreement over the violation of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) by Turkish vessel “Barbaros.” Turkey is also disapproving of Greece’s recent economic alliances with Cyprus, Egypt and Israel.

On the home front, the Samaras-Venizelos government see lawyers going on indefinite strike while several unions are preparing to strike again over the 2015 budget and the new austerity measures proposed by Greece’s lenders. Today and through Sunday, the Greek Communist Party-backed workers union PAME will hold demonstration rallies in Athens, Thessaloniki and other cities.

Also, the hunger strike of prison inmate Nikos Romanos over the refusal of Greek courts to allow him an educational leave has generated an uproar in Greek society with riots and property damages. The leftist opposition is capitalizing on the case and public opinion is turning against the government.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, there are protest rallies for the anniversary of Alexandros Grigoropoulos’ killing by a policeman. In previous years, there have been riots and serious acts of violence and destruction. The Greek government have to shoulder that, too.

Overall, the next few days will be a trial period for the coalition government and the signs are not in their favor. Added to that, due to the ongoing battle for the election of the President of the Hellenic Republic from the present parliament, the Samaras-Venizelos government is becoming all the more fragile.