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Brussels, 20 June 2011

Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with the Greek Prime Minister Papandreou

"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."

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