Greek Prime Minister, meeting with European Parliament President Martin Schulz in Brussels on Sept. 17 that, “Greece is coming out of an unprecedented crisis despite very difficult social hardships”.
He said all will be well one of these years, even if there is a deep recession, record unemployment, 1.4 million people out of work and a looming hole in the budget of as much as $14 billion.
In a brief statement to the press following the meeting, Samaras said that the pair had agreed on “growth-enhancement policies and job creation as our top priorities, along with further integration steps,” but didn’t describe any.He had promised to put 75,000 young Greeks to work in January but there hasn’t been another word about it for months.
He also said that several issues were discussed in relation to the country’s assumption of the European Union’s symbolic, powerless rotating presidency in January, among which were immigration and the formation of an “all-encompassing European maritime policy,” but didn’t detail what that would be.
Speaking before Samaras, Schulz expressed the support of the European Parliament for Greece and for the coalition government of Samaras in particular, saying that “there is light at the end of the tunnel” for the crisis-hit nation although many analysts say they believe it is years away.
Greece is suffering a crushing economic crisis caused by alternating administrations of Samaras’ New Democracy Conservatives and his partner, the PASOK Socialists, packing public payrolls for generations with hundreds of thousands of needless workers in return for votes.
“I think we should give the country a chance to show that the efforts are really there and further decisions should be taken in the light of the real economic development and of the possible recovery of the country,” Schulz said.
He added that there are good signs that Greece will be able to achieve a primary surplus by the end of the year as the government has predicted although that doesn’t include what it owes in interest, which is most of the money due, plus municipal budgets, state enterprises, some military costs and social security, otherwise there would be a huge deficit.
Last week, the Finance Ministry announced that the central government had a primary budget surplus of 2.92 billion euros between January and August, compared with an interim target for a deficit of 2.5 billion euros in the period.
Reaching a primary surplus this year is the main goal of the debt-laden country’s government. Hitting that target would trigger a clause in its international bailout allowing Athens to seek additional debt relief from its lenders and stiff its international lenders with big losses the same way it did to private investors and Diaspora bondholders.
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