Papandreou meets with EC chief in Brussels

Greek prime minister George Papandreou held talks with European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso in Brussels late Monday, which lasted past midnight, covering all the parameters of the crisis in the Greek economy and chiefly the country's debt.
After the more than 90 minute meeting, Barroso accompanied Papandreou outside where the Greek premier made a statement to the press, although the Commission chief had been initially scheduled to only issue a written statement.
Papandreou, in a brief statement, said that Greece and Europe were going through critical moments, and noted the "tough negotiations" taking place among the EU 27 as well as the 17 eurozone members, but also "beyond Europe".
In Greece "we are working for the broadest possible consensus", Papandreou said, adding his government's determination "to forge ahead, and with the EU's assistance, of course".
In a written statement, Barroso praised the efforts of Papandreou and the Greek government over the past year to deal with the "very serious fiscal situation in Greece", the results of which, "in terms of consolidating public finances and implementing key structural reforms" , adding that much hard work remained.

Barroso statement

"This evening I had a useful meeting with the Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou.
I would like to recognise the tremendous efforts made by the prime minister and his government over the past year - in the most challenging of circumstances - to address the very serious budgetary situation in Greece. The results, in terms of fiscal consolidation and growth-enhancing reforms, have already been substantial.
As we all know, there remains much work to do.
I am well aware of the hardships many people in Greece are experiencing today as the country takes these difficult but long overdue decisions. As I have said before: if there were an easier route out of the crisis, we would have taken it. But there is not. The only way for Greece to return to growth and create jobs in a sustainable way is to restore competitiveness and put its public finances on a solid footing. That is the route Greece has embarked upon, with the European Union's full support and solidarity.
I trust that the new Greek government will receive the confidence of parliament tomorrow. But the crucial vote will be at the end of June with the decision on the ambitious package of further fiscal measures and privatisations put forward by Prime Minister Papandreou's government and agreed with the EU and the International Monetary Fund. Approval of this package is a necessary condition for the Eurogroup to be able to agree early in July on the disbursement of the next tranche of financial support to Greece. I therefore trust that Greece's elected representatives will back these measures next week in a spirit of national and indeed European responsibility.
These choices are not easy, but nor are the problems that need to be addressed. Now is not the time to falter. Now is the time to redouble efforts: for the sake of the Greek people, and for all of Europe."
The talks between Papandreou and Barroso also focused on European issues ahead of the December EU summit, the Cyprus issue, the European prospect of the western Balkan countries and Frontex's presence in Greece.

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