Prime Minister Papademos in Brussels
Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, on his first trip abroad since the assumption of his duties, went to Brussels yesterday where he met with EU President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. During a joint press conference, following their meeting, Barroso expressed support for the "Herculean efforts" being made by Greece’s new coalition government to bring the country out of the crisis.
"There are two essential objectives for the coming months. Firstly, a second programme of financial assistance to Greece for the next three years must be concluded by the end of this year. Secondly, the voluntary bond exchange with private sector investors should take place as planned at the beginning of 2012," the European Commission President said. He also stressed that "the immediate task is to take the necessary steps for the sixth disbursement to be released as soon as possible. It is also crucial that the new government sends a clear signal that it will not waver from setting its debt on a steady downward path."
On his part, Papademos said [VIDEO] that "the formation of a government of national unity in Greece is a very important step towards forging consensus on major policy issues. I believe that this consensus will not only strengthen national and social cohesion, but will facilitate the process of fiscal consolidation and reform, which is necessary for the country to overcome the crisis and bring back the Greek economy to a path of sustained growth and job creation." He also added that "it is very encouraging that the public strongly supports the decision to form a government of national unity."
With regard to the government’s tasks ahead ,he said that these include the full implementation of the decisions of the EuroSummit of October 26-7, as well as the economic policies that are linked to it. "In addition," Papademos underlined, "we plan to promote further actions, particularly in the area of reforms, that are necessary in order to improve competition and the competitiveness of the Greek economy, as well as actions that are necessary in order to underpin economic activity and address the increasing unemployment."
During his meeting with European Council President Herman van Rompuy [VIDEO], Papademos reiterated the determination of his government, supported by all political parties, to implement the programme agreed with the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) 'troika.'
On his part, Van Rompuy reaffirmed the readiness of the Euro area to continue to provide support to Greece’s adjustment efforts. "A lot of effort has already been made by the Greek people. However, more needs to be done to restore stability, confidence and growth. I call on all Greek political leaders to fully back this strategy," said Rompuy after his meeting with the Greek premier.
Today, Papademos is due to meet Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker in Luxemburg and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi in Frankfurt.
(Tuesday, November 22, 2011)
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