“Greece is back,” Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told an audience in New York on Oct. 3 at a event organized by the Hellenic Initiative on Investing in the Future of Greece, which featured former president Bill Clinton as honorary patron and George Stephanopoulos as Master of Ceremonies.
It was the inaugural affair of the group, whose mission is mobilize the Diaspora to support sustainable economic renewal for Greece and its people.
“Greece returned as an equivalent member of the Eurozone on the path of stability, recovery and development,” Samaras said.
He said Greece’s crushing economic crisis was being dealt with by his government with hopes the country will have a primary surplus by the end of the year and even able to return to the markets next year.
“Greece is being stabilized economically and politically and has become a bulwark of stability in the region. The stabilization of Greece has positive impact on other countries” he said.
Samaras, making his second trip to the United States in two months, also talked about his meetings with several members of the business community managers and investors, as well as the leaders and members of Congress, and with Vice President Joe Biden.
Samaras noted that it was a difficult time too for Congress and the U.S. government in shutdown because of a budget debate that has closed federal offices, institutions and agencies.
As evidence Greece is beginning to slowly recover, he said that the interest rate on a 10-year bond that Greece has to pay is now about 9 percent, compared to 27 percent last year and 10.4 percent only a few weeks prior.
Finally, he said that, “Obviously we have a long way to cross, because we started from a very negative point, though we are on the right way and we keep moving forward quickly. In combination with the structural changes and reforms we have turned the ship, we stopped falling, we have stabilized our economy and we are now recovering.”
Clinton, who was the honorary patron at the banquet, praised the Greek people’s efforts and said he recognized their sacrifices. Clinton stressed that Greeks are not lazy and work more hours than the average German citizen. He said that he is hopeful for Greece’s future and he congratulated Samaras’ government for its hard work.
Watch President Clinton’s remarks below:
The event also honored three distinguished individuals for their service to the people of Greece: Andreas Dracopoulos on behalf of The Stavros Niarchos Foundation; Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of The Coca Cola Company and Andrew N. Liveris, Chairman and CEO of The Dow Chemical Company.
The Hellenic Initiative (THI) is a global, non-profit, secular institution whose vision is to mobilize the Greek diaspora and Philhellene community to support sustainable economic renewal for Greece and its people. Its programs pursue multiple strategies, but share a common focus on responsible investment – in strong nonprofit organizations responding to the crisis today and in leaders, entrepreneurs and businesses creating opportunity.