Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, during a visit to New York, urged Greek-Americans and those in the Diaspora to invest in Greece although those who already had were burned with 74 percent losses on their holdings and he has yet to act on a promise to hold them harmless.
Samaras met with the head of JP Morgan, Greek-American Jamie Dimon, where they discussed the investment prospects of the Greek economy.
Samaras gave a speech before a number of prominent financiers of the Diaspora at the Metropolitan Club to urge them to invest in debt-crushed Greece, which isn’t paying its bills because he said that would help change the country’s image of stiffing creditors although he offered no assurances new investors wouldn’t take a big hit either if they trusted in the government.
“We will meet our obligations to achieve a primary surplus and then we invest in the market,” he said, an optimistic stance given that analysts said Greece could be locked out of the markets for years after hitting private investors with big losses under a previous government in 2011.
He admitted that the government is being unfair to working-class Greeks as well as the poor and pensioners who are paying taxes while taking big pay cuts and slashed benefits because the government isn’t collecting from tax cheats despite his promises to go after them.
“We collect taxes from people who cannot afford them,” he said and noted that Greek people are convinced of the necessity of these sacrifices as they can see a better future although a majority of them oppose the austerity measures he’s implementing on the orders of international lenders who want to make sure banks get paid back before social services are funded.
Referring to the coalition government of his New Democracy Conservatives and their otherwise political rivals the PASOK Socialists, he said the two parties have agreed that austerity is the way out of the country’s crisis if it’s combined with growth but he offered no solutions other than asking people to invest in a country with the worst rate of corruption in the European Union and endless bureaucracy.
Earlier Antonis Samaras met with Archbishop Demetrios of America at the Archdiocese. The Prime Minister expressed his excitement about visiting the United States where, as he said, “I have come many times since I was a student and then lived for many years.”