Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas met here on Tuesday with his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle who provided political support for the Greek government's effort to handle the crisis.

Speaking during a joint press conference that followed the two ministers' meeting and a working lunch, Westerwelle stressed that the "determination and the discipline with which the Greek government is promoting structural reforms" is appreciated.

Westerwelle considered the reforms "necessary, as is also shown by the recently publicised fiscal data, but in any case we hail the fact that the reforms of the Greek government are bold and substantive and that evidently the Greek citizens also desire them."

At this point, the German minister also referred to the local government elections in Greece, assessing that "they confirmed that the Greek people are also convinced on the necessity of these reforms. We hail this fact, which constitutes our concern and interest as well and we are pleased that in the rest of Europe as well we see similar tough, but necessary decisions being taken," Westerwelle added.

Droutsas reassured his German counterpart that "the Greek government will continue the course of the necessary reforms with the same seriousness that it has been implementing so far."

He termed the result of the local government elections an "expression of the wide support of the Greek people for the reforms programme." He guaranteed that the reformist programme will be continued "with the same intensive rate and the same seriousness."

On the question of the enactment of a permanent support mechanism, Droutsas rejected the German proposal for the depriving of the right to vote for the violators of the Stability Pact, stressing that "there can be no absolute sanctions that would also mean the horizontal depriving of the right to vote." However, all these are issues that will be handled in the dialogue within the EU for "the right solutions in the interest of the EU" to be found, Droutsas said.

The press conference had been preceded by a meeting and a working lunch between the two ministers where timely open issues were raised at EU level, as well as bilateral Greek-German relations. Droutsas ascertained that these relations "are at a very high level and that cooperation between the two countries is very close."

Also speaking meanwhile to the television news channel "n-tv", Droutsas stressed that "the first positive results are already visible" from the implementation of the "big and reliable package of measures" that the Greek government was called on to implement in the past twelve months.

"We are on a good path, but we are in the middle of the course. We know that more has to be done. What is important, however, is that we have followed the right path," Droutsas said and added that this "is recognised by Greece's partners in the EU and by the entire international community."