EU promises Greece 'lighter surveillance' on eve of crucial vote

ATHENS, Greece – Greece is on course to end a draconian bailout program in February and switch to “much lighter surveillance,” European Union Finance Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said Tuesday.

His remarks in Athens came a day before Greece’s parliament votes for the country’s new president, in a ballot that can last up to three rounds — and could topple the conservative government.

Moscovici praised the country’s “immense progress” in rescuing its public finances despite delays concluding negotiations with rescue lenders.

Greece has been given a two-month extension to conclude bailout program negotiations after weeks of deadlocked talks on new cost-cutting measures demanded by the “troika” of the EU, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.

“We are not asking for the moon or for impossible things … What we ask from the Greek government is absolutely doable,” Moscovici said.

“If we succeed in closing the review…by the end of February next year, the troika will leave Greece and we will move to another phase of our relationship with this country.”

Conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has to win over support from at least 25 independent or opposition lawmakers to avoid a snap general election.

But so far, fewer than 10 have declared support for his presidential candidate.