Politics: PM Papandreou, German Chancellor Merkel make joint statements

Prime Minister George Papandreou expressed Greece's strong political will for the promotion of very serious reforms as well as the full implementation of the measures decided, speaking during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Tuesday evening, before the dinner hosted by Merkel for the Greek prime minister.

The prime minister also stressed his government's political will both for the tackling of the crisis and the creation of a competitive economy in Greece.

Papandreou further pointed out that the message of support by European partners to the Greek people, who are going through great sacrifices, is very important.

The prime minister termed as a very positive gesture the invitation to address the German industrialists on Tuesday morning, while regarding Greek-German relations he termed them "excellent", at both bilateral and European level.

On the question of aid by European partners, Papandreou said that Greece looks forward to cooperation in a series of sectors extending from the provision of know-how to investments, stressing that Greece needs the provision of know-how.

Terming as a very positive development the presence of a delegation for the provision of know-how on the part of the EU Commission in Greece, the prime minister said that Greece will use the best European practices. (Cont. page 2)
Papandreou also said that Greece, apart from the handling of the crisis, will also promote its comparative advantages, both to stand on its own feet and to contribute to a strong Europe.
On her part, Merkel said that "we want a strong Greece," adding that Greece must fulfill its commitments, referring to an EC/ECB/IMF troika's impending report.
Replying to questions, the German chancellor acknowledged that the Greek people are experiencing sacrifices "for which maybe they are not directly to blame" and further said that an evaluation of developments in Greece is taking place by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund and mentioning that this evaluation will be the measure, she stressed that on the basis of this measure "we shall do all that we can to help Greece to respond to the specifications of its commitments".
On his part, the Greek prime minister referred to the "unprecedented situation we are experiencing" and underlined the "cacophony in Europe" from time to time, while stressing that the decisions of the July 21 Eurozone summit constitute a strong message. "We are all determined, each on his part for a strong Europe and a strong euro," he added.
Asked about Greece's targets, Papandreou said they are first of all the decrease of the deficit and as a continuation of this he expressed the hope that in the spring of 2012 the Greek economy will achieve a first stage surplus.
The Greek prime minister added that the conditions in which the Greek economy is functioning may be changing, such as the deepening of recession, beyond predictions, and stressed that the change in conditions might change the situation, but does not change the targets.
Lastly, on the question whether the EFSF will be strengthened further, the German chancellor expressed her conviction that the German government coalition will have ther majority to be able to respond to what is necessary.

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