‘We can turn our crisis into success’
Greek PM’s positive message to MEPs at meeting in Malta
Greece will emerge from its crisis and become a European success, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras assured leading European People’s Party MEPs yesterday.
He was speaking at the opening of a two-day meeting of the EPP bureau in Malta.
Tackling the theme “Completing the monetary and economic union”, Mr Samaras appealed to the EU to expedite the next tranche of €30 billion of the Greek bailout loan as “every day means more problems for the Greek recovery”.
Greece has been in recession for six consecutive years and has just passed another set of austerity measures to lower the debt and deficit imbalances of its €215 billion economy. Despite this bleak background, Mr Samaras gave an upbeat speech, saying he was expecting the first green shoots of recovery to start appearing late next year.
“The next 15 days will be crucial for us as we need the EU and IMF cash to inject liquidity in our economy. Without this liquidity we can’t invest and business will stagnate. I appeal to the EU’s Ministers of Finance to make sure that Greece can continue on the path of recovery,” he said.
Thanking Malta for its decision to assist in the Greek bailout, he said Greece was capable of turning its crisis into a European success.
“We have taken very tough austerity measures, including cutting wages and pensions and reducing the public sector.
“We promise to keep our part of the deal and stick to all our commitments despite the difficulties we are facing.
“But we need continuous help in order to continue to turn the page,” he said.
The EPP Bureau, which brings together the leaders of the MEP delegations from 26 EU member states, was also addressed by Mahmoud Jibril, head of the Libyan National Forces Alliance.
He said that while Libya should be able to settle its own problems, the EU should give its support to fostering national dialogue. According to Mr Jibril, Libya still needs to legitimise its government and people still need to know who the boss is.
“We still have a lot of armed groups who control some part or another. We need to decide who is in command and then move forward. This is crucial for us,” he said.
The meeting was also addressed by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi, who said that more Europe was required to ensure economic and monetary stability.
“Our common European policies are not just a guarantee for our own financial stability but also for the stability of other member states which is in our interest too,” he said.
The meeting will end today with a discussion on the aftermath of the Arab Spring.
Morocco’s Minister of Economy and Finance Nizar Baraka will be the main guest speaker.