Greece’s Prime Minister Antonis Samaras read out yesterday to the European Parliament the program of his country’s EU presidency. In his words, high on the agenda in the next six months will be the growth of employment, the final establishment of the economic and monetary union, and the problem of immigration. Samaras emphasized the necessity of keeping a balance between fiscal discipline and growth, as well as giving liquidity to the real economy by way of funding small and medium businesses.
Dimitrios Triantaphyllou, Director of the Center for International and European Studies, thus commented to The Day the speech of Samaras: “From the political viewpoint, the EU presidency is an attempt for Greece to show that it has its own share of problems, that it is still in crisis and has to borrow money to survive, but that it is also able to function as a European state. It is one of the messages that Samaras, as prime minister, is trying to send. He has done it today, speaking at the European Parliament and submitting the program of Greece’s presidency. And, secondly, it is an important message for domestic consumption in Greece. Taking into account the way the political situation in Greece is unfolding, a major part of the public is devoted to Europe and the European idea, but, at the same time, a considerable portion of the public is more inclined to embrace populist ideas due to the crisis. It is about the Far Left and the Far Right, which are casting doubt on Europe.
“The prime minister is trying to use the presidency to say that it is not about whether to be or not to be in Europe. He also maintains that Greece is a European country for domestic consumption because there will be municipal and EP elections in May.”