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Samaras: The weakest link will soon become the cornerstone of the European structure

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Prime minister Antonis Samaras addressed a meeting of the European People's Party (EPP) in Bucharest on Wednesday, saying he felt it is his duty to achieve a Greek about-face and rendering the Greek issue a success story and a European success story, and "with your help, the weakest link will soon become the cornerstone of our European structure".He said that the key word for the next big step in Europe is 'competitiveness', an area in which certain member states have managed much better, "but all of us, together, are faced with serious challenges".

Some of these challenges can be better faced together, but most of these challenges can only be faced together, he said, sending a clear message that Greece is changing."From a modern-day tragedy, Greece is already transforming itself -- and I can assure you of this -- into a success story," Samaras said, and spoke of "Guinness records" achieved by Greece.

Specifically, he said that Greece has implemented the strictest austerity ever implemented, with measures cutting the deficit by 25 percent of GDP in just three years, and that it has gone through more than five consecutive years of recession, with a total loss of 22 percent of GDP, while at the same time it has realised hundreds of structural changes that were decided and implemented in just the last two years, chiefly in the last few months.

"We have done a lot, and of course there is still a long road ahead of us. We will do everything necessary to bring Greece to the top of European competitiveness and render it a model democratic society with a modern economy," he said, adding that if Greece succeeds, then all of Europe can emerge stronger from the crisis.Samaras further said that recovery and growth are the essential elements of any adjustment strategy.

The Greek premier explained that societies are not machines that can be switched off, replace their faulty parts, repair them and then re-assemble them."People are not 'spare parts'. You must correct the problems while maintaining society united and its cohesion alive. Naturally, the people suffer but they must retain their hope," he said, adding that a long-term adjustment programme is not only of an economic nature but also political."When things are moving in the right direction, progress is increasingly visible and gains ground. We must not forget that the situation is still fragile," Samaras said.

SOURCE: ATHENS NEWS AGENCY

Last Updated Friday, 19 October 2012
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