Politics: PM: 'Greece will be saved and will change'

Prime Minister George Papandreou pledged on Tuesday that "Greece will be saved and shall change", while addressing the Federation of Hellenic Enterprises' (SEV) general assembly at the Megaron Concert Hall.
"For as long as I am here nothing else preoccupies me," the prime minister added.
Papandreou said the "chapter of changes" is not over, but is under way, and added that if the country collapses now "all the sacrifices will be in vain".

"We shall either wage the battle to the end, in order to enable funding to continue or we shall give the right (to others) to put Greece on the margins of the EU's hard core," he said.

Papandreou, who spoke hours after a round of talks with political party leaders, called for consensus and joint responsibility to pass "the promontory of the coming weeks," saying that a government cannot struggle alone with the "beasts" while being snipped at continuously, within the country, for petty-partisan reasons.
"I am open to whatever realistic proposal, provided it upgrades our credibility and achieves the targets we have set and that we have agreed with our partners," Papandreou said, referring to his meetings with party leaders on Tuesday.

"Consensus is not only a national necessity, but it is also feasible in practice," the prime minister said, outlining a series of issues in which there is a convergence of views between the government and the main opposition party.

Papandreou said the government has been trying for a year to promote reforms in the country, saving it in parallel from bankruptcy, which was considered certain by many a few months ago.

He acknowledged that there are difficulties, recession and restrictions, but stressed that "there is no other path" since "if we continued to exercise policy, as all did in the past, many of whom today are either protesting, we would not be able today to speak of policies, options, consensuses, an exit to markets when we will stand on our feet, because simply we would have collapsed totally."

The prime minister further said "we secured the loan of 110 billion euros that permits us today to still function as a state and not to have mourned situations that our mind cannot imagine."

Papandreou further said that for the country to exit from the crisis, the deeper causes that led to it must be reversed, meaning the mistaken practices and mentalities of the past, the chronic distortions and weaknesses of the economy, the way of organising society and the political system that led Greece to the verge of disaster.
"The concealment of the real fiscal situation was the coup de grace to a credibility of the country that had already sustained blows," he said.

Lastly, Papandreou said the government is not merely averting bankruptcy but is changing Greece, adding that this course is not over but is in its half way and expressed his conviction that with rallying and work by all the Greek people will be revived and will prosper once again.

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