President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias, speaking during the ceremony on his awarding of an honourary doctorate by the International and European Studies Faculty of the Piraeus University, stressed the need for Europe to provide an overall, integrated reply to the crisis so as to convince citizens that the basic values and principles on which the EU was built remain topical and have a future.

President Papoulias expressed support for a balance to be found between fiscal discipline and the support policies of growth and employment for the protection of "social" Europe, while speaking of a "dramatic delay" by Europe in the issuing of a eurobond that "would intercept the momentum of those centres that aim at sinking national economies to gain from the gambling on bankruptcy."

He also warned of the risk from Europe's negligence not only of the prosperity of peoples being jeopardised but of the very undertaking of European integration as well.

President Papoulias, however, was categorical in saying that "we must not transfer to others, third parties, the self-evident reponsibilities that our governments of the past decades have," a member of which, as he said, was he himself as well and added that the chronic structural weaknesses of the Greek economy must not be underestimated because "they are mainly to blame for the widening of the crisis and constitute an obstacle for recovery."

Referring to the country's foreign policy, President Papoulias said that it is governed by the principles of respect for International Law, the ability for decisive and effective defence of national independence and of national interests and of action in the privileged environment of the large European family. With these principles, Greece can define, as he said, policy regarding both the Balkans, the European Union, the Mediterranean and Turkey as well as the emerging China, India, Brazil, Iran and Russia, as well as "the awakening and rising of the Arab peoples who are claiming freedom and democracy," immigration and climatic change.

President Papoulias, however, appeared optimistic that both Greece and Europe will find their pace soon once again.