Greece won a victory in Brussels and this victory belonged to the Greek citizens who daily lent their support to the effort underway, Prime Minister George Papandreou told PASOK's Parliamentary group on Tuesday.
Briefing PASOK MPs on the results of last Friday's Eurozone summit, Papandreou stressed that the government would "continue on the road of great changes" and said that he had boundless confidence in the strength of the Greek people.
The prime minister said the country had made superhuman efforts in the past 18 months, going up against difficulties both at home and abroad. He was scathing in his criticism of main opposition New Democracy and all those who persisted in adopting a querulous attitude to developments, including those complaining about the results of the Eurozone summit.
Papandreou stressed that mismanagement in Greece derived from the country's political leadership, while the present government's efforts to take the country forward after the 2009 elections were soon converted into an effort to save it.
The premier underlined the struggle to overcome the privileged groups within the country who did not want anything to change and acted as though the Memorandum had created all the problems, rather than the problems leading to the Memorandum.
He stressed that they had borrowed in the name of the Greek government, only to bail out when the time came to pay, leaving others to pick up the bill.
"We signed the Memorandum that they should have signed themselves, like the Irish did," he said, noting that the previous government had instead chosen to flee and let PASOK "pull the coals out of the fire" while they stood on the sidelines, criticising and prophesying doom.
Papandreou noted that Greece's EU partners had acknowledged the country's titanic effort and taken decisions at the EU summit that were favourable for all involved. He called the decision a vote of confidence in Greece and a message to speculators that strengthened the single currency.
He stressed, also, that the changes being made by the government would have been necessary even if Greece had no debt. Along the same lines, he said the 50-billion-euro privatisation programme was an issue that had been discussed in Greece for decades, not something imposed by "bad foreigners".
Beginning his speech, Papandreou had also referred to the nuclear accidents in Japan and expressed Greece's full support for the Japanese people during this time, when they were being visited by yet another nuclear tragedy. He particularly praised the small number of workers that had remained at the failing power plants and were doing their utmost to contain the disaster. He noted that the developments in Japan had confirmed the correctness of Greece's decision to avoid the use of nuclear power and called for stress tests for the numerous nuclear power stations in Europe.
The disasters in Japan were strong confirmation of humanity's vulnerability and that control of nuclear energy was a major wager for democracy, Papandreou added.