"Greece is in the rights hands, Europe is in the wrong hands," Party of European Socialists (PES) President Poul Nyrup Rasmussen said on Thursday, in a statement prior to a meeting of PES Leaders in Athens on Friday and Saturday.

Referring to Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, who will co-host the meeting, Rasmussen said the Greek premier "has shown what true political leadership is all about" over the last year, under incredibly trying circumstances.

"He has brought Greece back on track after years of devastating Conservative Government. Despite being under enormous global scrutiny, he has kept to a path defined by clear goals and strong principles. As Prime Minister of Greece, he has been unwavering in his focus. That focus is the long term interest of the Greek people. Destructive policy choices from the earlier Conservative Government have made it necessary to introduce tough cuts. But George is also engaged in large-scale structural reforms that will ensure that Greece will grow again, creating thousands of new jobs and protecting the poorest in society. This is socially responsible," Rasmussen said.

The meeting in Athens will focus on the European Union and its economic governance, ensuring that this is done in an economically credible, and socially responsible way.