Earlier on Wednesday, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras set out the “achievements” of the Greek economy and the efforts undertaken by the Greek people.
“After six years of recession there is development in Greece,” said the Prime Minister in his speech at the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, presenting the priorities of the Greek EU presidency. “Greece did hold on, transforms radically and takes a safe path towards reforms and recovery,” he added, making special reference to the unprecedented sacrifices the Greek people had to endure, to the impressive fiscal adjustment and to the high unemployment rates which exceeded 27%.
“Greece has met its commitments and honored its signature. Falling down isn’t failure; failure is staying on the ground. If you get up with your head held high, it is success. I am proud that my country is back on its feet. Greece achieved the greatest financial adjustment ever, with a reduction of the deficit by 13%. To achieve this, however, it lost 25% of its GDP, while the average citizen has lost 38% of his income and youth unemployment has reached 60%. Greece underwent one of the widest and most overwhelming reform programs. The results are visible. We had a primary surplus in 2013. Many things have still to be done, but we managed to stabilize the country’s economy. Today, Greece has the largest structural primary surplus in Europe, which means that if we had met our fiscal potential, we would have been able to even reach the interest rates on our credits and reduce the debt,” underlined the Greek PM in his remarks.
Mr. Samaras used the opportunity to thank his EU partners for the support they provided to Athens and the people of the EU for their vote of confidence, repeating that the country paid dearly for its own mistakes, as well as for the errors of the single currency and the European Union, including the mistaken multiplier built into the first stability program, which underestimated the impact of recession.
As President of the European Council, Antonis Samaras talked about the upcoming EU elections, noting that the European citizens are invited to cast their vote for political concepts and that the crisis is over. Referring to the priorities of the Greek presidency, the PM singled out the social spectrum, speaking at length about policies that will effectively combat unemployment. He also stressed the need to directly promote the union of the banking system and the fight against illegal immigration.