Greek premier will meet with Merkel and Hollande in bailout extension talks
Since a series of rating downgrades reduced its government bonds to junk status, Greece has been unable to borrow from international markets to finance its high budget deficits. The country is now dependent on two international rescue loan packages from other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund, which are preventing it from bankruptcy and potentially having to leave the euro.
In return, it has had to impose strict austerity measures, including cuts to salaries and pensions and repeated tax hikes. The cutbacks deepened a recession that is expected at the end of the year to reach a cumulative 20 percent since 2008, amid galloping unemployment that is now over 23 percent.
But Athens has faltered in the speed and effectiveness with which it has implemented the reforms, fuelling impatience by its creditors, notably Germany, which is the single largest contributor to the bailout.
"The truth is that Greece ... is suffering from a kind of credibility crisis," Juncker said.
In an appeal to German public opinion, Samaras told the popular mass-circulation Bild that his country needs more time to effectively implement reforms, but that this would not translate into needing more funds.
"Let me be very clear: we are not asking for extra money," Samaras was quoted as telling Bild. "We stand by our commitments and the implementation of all requirements. But we must encourage growth, because that reduces the financing gaps."