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SPEECH/12/92

Olli Rehn

Vice-President of the European Commission and member of the Commission responsible for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro

Statement on the vote in the Greek Parliament

Statement in the Press Room

Brussels, 13 February 2012

On behalf of the European Commission, I welcome the positive vote of the Greek Parliament on the second programme for Greece. Yesterday's vote is an expression of the determination prevailing in the country to put an end to the spiral of unsustainable public finances and to the loss of competitiveness.

As outlined by the Eurogroup last week, this programme will be supported by unparalleled financial assistance from Greece's partners, which is a concrete expression of their continued solidarity and genuine concern. The European Commission remains strongly committed to reinforce the assistance to the Greek administration on the ground to achieve these objectives as regards return to sustainable growth and employment.

In the last weeks, there have been tensions both in Greece and within its partners. The correction of the serious imbalances affecting the Greek economy and the restoration of the conditions for growth and jobs are inevitable a long-term endeavour. It will still take time and effort by the Greek society. The EU continues to stand by the Greek people. The Greek authorities and political forces should now take full ownership and make the case for the second programme, and then fully implement it, in order to ensure the return of the country to sustainable economic growth and job creation.

It is evident that the economic model that Greece was following until 2009 had no further possibilities to be applied, as it lead to serious imbalances and uncertainties as the country systematically lived beyond its means for a decade. The second programme to be implemented now is going to be very demanding, but it will pave the way to redress the difficult situation. In any case, Greece should have implemented most measures to balance its economy and boost sustainable growth and employment even in the absence of such a programme, already several years ago.

I also wish to join my voice to the Greek government in condemning the unacceptable violence that took place yesterday in Athens. These individuals who are responsible for this violence, do not represent the vast majority of Greek citizens who are genuinely concerned for the future of their country and are showing determination and resilience.


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