Prime Minister of Portugal visit to Greece, Tuesday September 9, 2014
The Prime Minister of Portugal, Passos Coelho visited Athens, Greece on Tuesday, Sept. 9th, upon an invitation by his Greek counterpart Antonis Samaras, within the framework of longstanding friendly relations and bilateral cooperation of the two nations.
The Portuguese Premier started his contacts with a visit to the President of the Republic, Mr. Karolos Papoulias, at the Presidential Palace.
Later on, Mr. Coelho was welcomed at the Maximos Mansion (the Prime Minister’s Office), where he held bilateral talks with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. The Portuguese PM had the opportunity to share with his host the experience of the exit from the financial adjustment programme, last May. Moreover, Greek-Portuguese relations, financial & economic development trends within the wider Eurozone framework and the crises in Ukraine and in Iraq, were on the agenda of the two leaders.
Mr. Samaras, addressing a joint press conference following his meeting with Mr. Coelho, indicated that Greece was re-establishing control of its finances. “Soon we will be able to certify the sustainability of our debt without new memorandums, without the need for new loans,” he stated, mentioning a series of positive economic indicators suggesting that the country is set to emerge from a long and deep recession later this year.
Both Premiers emphasized the need for a broader shift in Europe: toward policies designed to boost growth without neglecting the budgetary targets, towards initiatives enhancing adequate cooperation among the Eurozone countries, as well as stressing the need to increase competitiveness, so that much-needed jobs can be created.
|Visit and working lunch at the Acropolis museum:
Greek PM showing an exhibit to his guest
Mr. Samaras took the opportunity to reiterate the strong links between the two countries - the antique myths connecting Ulysses and Lisbon, the relations of both nations with the sea, the restoration of Democracy in both countries in 1974 and their common membership in NATO and the E.U. Furthermore, the Greek Premier underlined that for Greece, the major objective remains - as Ireland and Portugal already did - "completing the program, setting a track record for success in terms of budget and reforms and making a return to the markets and being able to stand on our own feet”.
In his turn, Mr. Coelho expressed “a word of solidarity” for the Greek people, as he said he understood the great social costs “from his own experience”, especially when having “a very difficult point of departure.”
Nevertheless, Greece now had “a strong base for a sustainable future”, stated the Prime Minister of Portugal, asserting his confidence that Greece would also make a successful exit from its adjustment program, as Portugal did: “We have not reached paradise (…) we know that we have a long path ahead, but we may now do so on our own two feet and deciding for ourselves just what is best. That makes all the difference as you might imagine”.