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Prime Minister Papandreou’s press conference following the European Council in Brussels

Monday, 07 February 2011

Prime Minister Papandreou’s press conference following the European Council in Brussels

Main points:

· On the Egypt issue, we came out in favor of an immediate transition, with democratic changes and without violence; a smooth transition. I had the opportunity to stress that, for us, Egypt is of special interest because it is in our neighbourhood; it bears directly on our security and our economy. And, of course, negative scenarios for the development of the domestic process in Egypt would mean other problems as well, including, e.g., a possible surge in migration towards our country. There is also Hellenism in Egypt, and there is also the Patriarchate of Alexandria.

· We have neither the margin nor the luxury to simply look on. That is why we are in constant contact with everyone – not just in Europe, but throughout the region – so that things don’t just progress as they will.

· Through a huge effort, with the understanding and support of the Greek people, we succeeded in convincing our European partners that, first, a support mechanism needs to be created; second, it needs to cover the borrowing needs of countries facing problems like ours; and, third, and most important, this mechanism needs to be permanent in nature so that it can deal definitively and decisively with the debt crisis that many countries have faced or are facing.

· Through the truly important decisions it has taken, Greece has gone from being an isolated case and problem in the eurozone to being part of the solution. At a time that was difficult and decisive for everyone, we showed clear results that are already creating prospects and hope for Greece, and that contributed towards our participating in collective European concern and helping to shape a robust, effective and permanent stability mechanism for all of Europe.

· We had a useful and effective discussion on energy policy. We stressed the need to move ahead systematically with renewable energy sources as a means of energy security.

· The Eastern Mediterranean’s incorporation into the European energy network – the European energy market – could be of strategic importance for the peace and security of the wider region.

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