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Interview: Alternate FM Xenogiannakopoulou on “Weekend on NET TV” (excerpts)

Monday, 20 December 2010

[Regarding the results of the European Council]

· “It was a very important meeting and the results were very positive. Important progress was also made with regard to the atmosphere that existed before the Council, and I remind you that this past October – as in all the previous months – it was apparent that there was a crisis: diverging European views. Now, with regard to the extent that these decisions will lead to stabilization, I would say that they open a positive road. Beyond that, we will certainly need to go into further detail on these decisions and on further policies in the coming time.”

· “I would like to note three particularly positive points. First of all, it was decided that there would be a limited revision of the Treaty and that a permanent mechanism for confronting crises will go into effect after 2013. And, here, let me remind you that a few months ago this was a lone struggle for Prime Minister Papandreou. And you see now that everyone decided that this is necessary if we are to have stability.

The other two points, which are equally important, are that for the first time there is a comprehensive statement from the heads of state and government noting the need for a cohesive, comprehensive reply to the European crisis. I would like to emphasize this, because this is precisely where the road is being opened to a broader political European reply. Because, what have we been saying all this time? That there is a European dimension and there needs to be a European reply. This statement, first of all, acknowledges the progress our country has made – by name. It acknowledges the need for a commitment. And this is important because Germany, too, is participating in this statement, as are all the eurozone countries, committed to doing whatever is necessary – as the statement says – for there to be stability and to handle the crisis. Also mentioned are the matters of balanced development, the role of the European Central Bank and all of those matters.

The third issue is equally important. As you know, things don’t always progress quickly in Europe. Rather, they mature. Things that were tabled very intensely by George Papandreou a few weeks ago – like the Eurobond, like the need for supplementary policies to lend solidarity and decisiveness to European markets – are already maturing. They are on the table. The alliance is broadening with ECB President Trichet and with Luxembourg Prime Minister Juncker and with Mr. Barroso.”

· “The proposal Mr. Papandreou made yesterday to his MPs was within a very European framework. The Lisbon Treaty provides for the potential for a more popular legislative initiative, which we supported as a country. George Papandreou came and said, let’s have the first implementation of this potential be the collection of signatures, and we will launch this initiative. Of course, a corresponding initiative has to be undertaken in all the countries. As you know, this gains momentum with regard to the Eurobond. We have to give even greater depth to this important decision that was taken.”

· “Right now, nobody knows how things will develop – how the markets will react. The good thing is that Europe is now showing that it is aware of the problems and has stated its willingness to take measures. Beyond that, we need the Eurobond and a number of similar measures.”

· “In the EUROGROUP decision that was referred to in the Council Conclusions, it says that Greece will look into approval for a loan extension similar to Ireland’s case. And as the Prime Minister told his MPs yesterday, in his discussions with his colleagues from the other countries, there was affirmation in the direction of extension, which, as you can see, means significant relief for our country.”