ATHENS, March 29 Greece's Deputy Agriculture
Minister Maximos Charakopoulos resigned from his post on
Saturday to protest against a dairy product reform bill demanded
by the country's international lenders that he says will hurt
Greek dairy producers.
Critics say the milk reform would lead to Greek dairy
companies buying more milk more cheaply from abroad, thus
hurting domestic production.
The proposed measure is part of a general bill to overhaul
Greek markets that will be put to the vote on Sunday. The
passing of the 225-page bill is a condition for Greece to secure
the next tranche of bailout loans from the European Union and
the International Monetary Fund.
Greece needs the loans to repay 9.3 billion-euro debt
maturing in May.
Charakopoulos, a lawmaker for Prime Minister Antonis
Samaras' conservative co-ruling New Democracy party, did not
clarify if he would back the bill in Sunday's vote, but in a
statement suggested he would not vote against it.
"At this point, my political ethics does not allow me to put
the country's smooth financing at risk," he said.
(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou and Renee Maltezou; Editing by