Prime minister George Papandreou stressed on Wednesday that Greece must proceed with the major reforms planned, with the main target of creating a primary surplus in the economy so as to put an end to the bleeding from the deficits.
With the difficult decisions taken as the weapon and the conviction that those decisions will be implemented, the government achieved everything that the opposition was accusing it of not negotiating, and even more, Papandreou told his ruling PASOK party's parliamentary group.
Now, he said, the country must go ahead with the major reforms and with everything that had not been done in the previous decades, with the first target being the creation of a primary surplus in the economy.
Addressing an invitation to the "creative forces" of the country, Papandreou said that his government is moving forward "with all those who want to and can", adding that despite the protests the overwhelming majority of the Greek people want the government to succeed in its task.
The premier further expressed pride in his MPs, saying that they had done their patriotic duty towards the Greek people, disregarding threats and ridicule.
"We confirmed our participation in the core of the European Union," he said.
Papandreou also spoke of decisive decisions for the immediate and long-term future of the country, noting that Greece's borrowing needs for the coming period, servicing of the debt and the stability of the banking system and the citizens' deposits have been secured, in a reference to last week's eurozone summit decisions.
The premier further reiterated Greece's support for the people of Norway and the families of the victims of the recent tragedy.
Briefing his MPs on last week's eurozone summit decisions, Papandreou called them a "historic step for Greece and Europe", while he strongly criticised main opposition New Democracy (ND) and its leader Antonis Samaras, saying that at the time that the government was trying to put out the fire that the ND government had lit, ND was adding fuel to the fire, betting on the PASOK government's and the country's failure. (Continued on next page)
Papandreou said that with the summit decision the country took one more decisive step forward, but without this meaning that all the problems have been solved.
"We achieved much more than what the opposition was accusing us of not negotiating, and we will continue to negotiate to lift Greece up high where it deserves to be," he said, adding that after the summit decision "light has appeared at the end of the tunnel".
Papandreou said that Greece achieved things that were inconceivable just a few months earlier: resolution of the immediate problem of meeting its borrowing needs for the coming years, servicing of its debt, ensuring the stability of the banking system and security of deposits, and the EU's active participation in Greece's developmental effort.
With all the above, Greece remained in the core of the EU, with all that entails for the economy, society and the national issues, he said.
Today, he added, ideas were being advanced in Europe that had been voiced by the Greek government and which the conservatives in the Union had not been listening to.
Papandreou said that in essence a suis generis bond was being issued and that a common management of the eurozone economy was essentially beginning, while he expressed optimism that a tax on financial transactions would also be imposed soon.
Turning to the government's next steps, he said the era that Greece was living on borrowed money and the era of deficits have ended, and the target now was to zero the deficits and achieve budget surpluses.
Commenting on the premier's address to his parliamentary group, main opposition New Democracy (ND) press officer Yiannis Michelakis said that the people are tired of hearing Papandreou's ravings, adding that "after leading the country to the brink of collapse, he (the premier) is lying and insulting in order to save himself from collapse".