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Greece: New prime minister, finance minister to miss European Union summit due to health problems

Greek’s new prime minister, Antonis Samaras, and finance minister, Vassilis Rapanos, won’t attend a key EU meeting this week.

Greek pm fm in hospitalEnlarge
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Finance Minister Vassilis Rapanos are both in hospital. (AFP/Getty Images)

Greek’s new prime minister and finance minister won’t attend a key European Summit this week due to health problems, Agence France-Presse said today.

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According to the Associated Press, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras had surgery for a detached retina on Saturday, a few days after he was sworn in as head of the three-party coalition government.

Samaras, 61, has been "expressly forbidden" by his doctor from traveling to the Brussels for the crucial June 28-29 meeting, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou was quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying.

Vassilis Rapanos, who was hospitalized Friday with stomach pains before he could be sworn in as finance minister, will also miss the meeting where Athens will try to renegotiate the tough terms of its international bailout, AFP said.

Greece will instead send its foreign minister, Dimitris Avramopoulos, and the outgoing finance minister, George Zanias, to the important summit, the Guardian reported.

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Inspectors from the European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank, meanwhile, have also postponed a planned visit to Greece on Monday, the BBC said.

They were to check up on Greece’s progress in implementing reforms sought by the country’s lenders in exchange for billions of euros in aid. 

Samaras’ center-right New Democracy party defeated the anti-austerity Syriza left-wing party in last Sunday’s election, but failed to win enough votes to form a government of its own.

It has formed a ruling coalition with the socialist Pasok party and the Democratic Left.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/120624/greece-new-prime-minister-finance-minister-miss-european-union-s