* PM Samaras recovering from eye surgery
* Incoming finance minister also in hospital
* Officials from 'troika' of lenders postpone visit
* Greece wants to renegotiate bailout terms
By Lefteris Papadimas and Deepa Babington
ATHENS, June 24 Greece's new prime minister and
incoming finance minister, who have been ill, will miss this
week's EU summit when Athens will propose easing the terms of
its bailout and international lenders have had to postpone a
first meeting with the team.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras underwent eye surgery on
Saturday and Vassilis Rapanos is in hospital after suffering
from nausea, intense abdominal pains and dizziness on Friday
before he could be sworn in as finance minister.
Instead, the foreign minister and outgoing finance minister
will attend the June 28-29 meeting to ask for the terms of the
130 billion euro ($162.96 billion) bailout to be loosened.
The unexpected turn of events forced the postponement of a
visit to Athens on Monday by officials from Greece's "troika" of
lenders - the European Union, European Central Bank and
International Monetary Fund.
The officials had been expected to meet Samaras and Rapanos
and set a later date for a review of Greece's implementation of
reforms required under the programme.
An IMF spokeswoman confirmed the Fund's representative,
deputy director of the IMF's European department Poul Thomsen,
would not be arriving. "Poul Thomsen's visit has been postponed
and new dates have not yet been set," the spokeswoman said.
An EU spokesman also said the troika visit had been
Samaras's coalition government, sworn in last week, has
called for the renegotiation of the painful terms of the
financial lifeline, which is keeping Greece from bankruptcy but
at the cost of harsh economic suffering.
The government faces a stern test at the two-day EU summit,
with euro zone paymaster Germany particularly resistant to
giving Athens any leeway.
Greece will be represented by Foreign Minister Dimitris
Avramopoulos and outgoing Finance Minister George Zanias,
government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said.
GERMANY URGES ACTION
He said Samaras would leave hospital on Monday after
undergoing a successful operation to repair a damaged retina.
"The orders of his doctor are for him not to travel and to
stay at home for a few days," he said. The hospital said his
condition was "good and improving."
"The prime minister cannot travel by car or by plane,"
Panagiotis Theodosiadis, chief doctor at the Attika hospital,
told Mega TV.
Responding to strong public pressure during a fifth year of
recession, the government's programme calls for tax cuts, extra
help for the poor and unemployed, a freeze on public sector
lay-offs and more time to cut its deficit.
Greece's euro zone partners have offered only adjustments to
make up for the weeks of paralysis during two elections since
early May and a deeper than expected recession.
But there will be no radical re-write, they say. German
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Greece had already
forfeited much of Europe's trust.
"The most important task facing new prime minister Samaras
is to enact the programme agreed upon quickly and without
further delay instead of asking how much more others can do for
Greece," Schaeuble told Bild am Sonntag.
Greece's new coalition brings together New Democracy,
Socialist PASOK and the small Democratic Left in an uneasy
alliance facing an emboldened opposition.
Before he could be sworn in, incoming Finance Minister
Rapanos was rushed to the Hygeia Hospital. Doctors said on
Saturday he had undergone a scanning test and that he was
"stable and improving." He was to continue drug therapy but no
further details were available on his illness.
Samaras's New Democracy narrowly won the June 17 election, a
re-run of a vote on May 6 that produced stalemate. The radical
leftist Syriza bloc surged into second place on a promise to
tear up the terms of the bailout, potentially forcing Greece out
of Europe's single currency.