Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, speaking Wednesday to powerful financiers and investors at the Economic Club in New York, presented the real picture of the state prevailing in Greece and the handling of its problems.
Papandreou stressed that the situation must be highlighted in its appropriate dimension and what precisely is taking place should be clarified, in contrast to disinformation that results frequently from certain economic analysts.
The prime minister said that six months ago all declared that they were certain that Greece would go bankrupt, adding that at present Greece is a different country, steadfastly adherred to longterm stability and growth, something that attracts the interest of investors and in this framework he invoked the recent response that the increase in the National Bank’s share capital found, as well as the decision by social security funds in Norway to invest in Greek bonds.
He stressed that the return of investors is due to the Greek government proving that it means what it says, it achieves the targets it sets, and exceeds expectations, and noted that in a few months time the most ambitious and extensive reforms programme in Greece’s modern history has been promoted.
The prime minister reassured that the deficit has already been reduced by 32 percent and “we shall achieve the target of 40 percent by the end of the year,” adding that state expenditures decreased by 8 percent and the first stage deficit by 60 percent.
He spoke of the utilisation of the comparative advantage of solar energy, shipping, tourism and biological cultivations.
“We did not fear the political cost and we turned the economic crisis into an opportunity,” he said, stressing that the latest opinion polls show increased support from public opinion compared to last April.
Papandreou further said he is determined to secure that the sacrifices of the Greek people will not be in vain and expressed certainty that the shortterm costs and the pain will be offset by longterm benefits.
He informed investors that the crisis was not the beginning of the end but a new beginning and reiterated that the public sector will utilise the real estate that it possesses which is worth 270 billion euros, an amount that corresponds to almost the entire public debt, as well as the deregulation of the energy market, while at the same time Greece offers prospects for aeolian energy that are unique in Europe. He also said that the sector of high technology also provides considerable opportunities.
Papandreou underlined Greece’s geographical position which is surrounded by developing markets, while stressing that the country’s importance has been recognised by China as well that has turned the port of Piraeus into a point of entry of its exports to Europe.
Lastly, the prime minister stressed that there shall be no bankruptcy and appeared convinced that soon Greece will return to high growth rates as was the case until 2008.