Prime Minister Antonis Samaras sent a message of optimism that Greece will succeed, in a brief statement after attending the ‘Blessing of the Waters’ ceremony on Sunday, in observance of the Epiphany holy day, in Piraeus while he travels to Germany on Monday ahead of a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday.
“From Piraeus, the most important port in the Mediterranean, I want to send a message of optimism that we will succeed,” Samaras said, according to AMNA.
“The Greek people’s strength, the entrepreneurship of the Greek and, above all, the optimism and unity that exists today, have, I believe, always been the tools that gave us progress and prosperity and will give them to us once again,” he said, the state agency reports.
“Today, on the feast of the Epiphany, the wish that was given to us and the hope that we received from the Blessing of the Waters ritual instills in us once again optimism and strength that we will succeed,” the prime minister added.
The Prime Minister travels to Germany today to participate as a keynote speaker at the conference of German newspaper Die Welt. European Central Bank president Mario Draghi is to address the conference as well.
Tomorrow at noon, Samaras will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whilst earlier the Greek Prime Minister will have a private meeting with former Vice Chancellor of Germany, Hans-Dietrich Genscher.
Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said there would be an informal exchange of opinions during the meeting, according to Kathimerini newspaper.
“It is natural that we should take the opportunity to underline once again the progress that has been made in Greece in terms of structural reforms,” Seibert added.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras said Greece must maintain the trust of its partners, which it earned with great difficulty, on Sunday, warning that otherwise all the sacrifices made so far would be put into question.
Stournaras, speaking on MEGA television station, left no room for fiscal relaxation, and opined that if the government remains devoted to the adjustment programme of the Greek economy, the first signs of recovery will begin to appear in the second half of the current year.
“2013 will be a rough year, as we have EUR 9.2 billion in measures to implement. But we are on the right track.
He noted that the first positive messages from the execution of the budget appeared in the last months of 2012, which enables the government’s economic staff to harbor the optimistic forecast that the country’s primary deficit will end the year below the targeted 1.5 percent deficit to GDP ratio target, at 1.2-1.3 percent of GDP.
Stournaras was also optimistic on the execution of this year’s budget, noting that provided all the targets are surpassed, there will be a possibility for reasonable benefits in 2014. “If we do better on the 2013 targets – which is very likely – we will be able, in 2014, to channel 70% of the excess to social benefits, but targeted benefits to those who have genuine need”.