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Greece has 'zero risk' of leaving eurozone, PM tells NY Times

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Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has ruled out all possibility that Greece might leave the euro in an interview with the New York Times published on Saturday.“There is absolutely zero risk that Greece is leaving the euro,”  Samaras told reporters Rachel Donadio and Liz Alderman. At the same time he noted that euro-membership was coming at a higher political and economic cost, which had led to violent protests and mass demonstrations in Greece, Spain and Portugal.

According to Samaras, this 'new social phenomenon' sweeping Europe was something that the international community needed to pay attention to: “This is the product of this huge crisis and this huge recession we’re in,” he said. “So that should ring a bell to our allies and to the Western world: that if this happens in Greece and in Spain and tomorrow in other countries, that they should make sure this will not intensify.”
The article emphasises the magnitude of the task facing Samaras as the Greek economy unravels and the difficulties that the Greek premier must negotiate, not least whether Greece's creditors will agree to sign off on the package of austerity cuts finally agreed by his coalition government and release much needed financial aid that will grease the wheels of the country's stalled economy.

Along with a message to Greeks at home to "keep the faith" and remain hopeful, Samaras also had a clear message for Europe: "We are changing, but at the same time you have to help us, you have to help the situation,” he said. The alternative, he added, could be “the end of Greece.”

The Greek premier insisted that the latest round of austerity cuts will be the last and will be manageable if Greece's creditors allow the government to put them into effect gradually over four years, extending the loan period until 2016.

The last part of the interview focused on the issue of illegal migration and the rising anti-migrant sentiment among ordinary Greeks that helped sweep nationalist Golden Dawn from the edge of the political wilderness straight into Parliament. Samaras described the "waves of illegal immigrants" arriving in Greece as a major problem that would get worse if the situation in Syria deteriorated further but he appeared confident that Golden Dawn was a "bubble that would burst" without the need for "extreme measures".

SOURCE: ATHENS NEWS AGENCY

Last Updated Monday, 01 October 2012
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