Copenhagen (ANA-MPA – G. Milionis) Greece has the support of its European partners in the effort to get its economy back on track, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou stressed here on Friday, during a press conference on the sidelines of the UN climate summit.
“They feel confident, on their part, that we are proceeding down a path with our own package [of measures] but with very specific targets,” Papandreou told reporters.
Regarding the criticism levelled against Greece over its economic policy, the Greek premier said that markets did not take into account whether there had been a change in government and were waiting to see the results of policy in practice.
At the same time, he pointed to the paradox that credit-rating agencies answerable to no one could ‘make or break’ economies run by democratically elected governments and also questioned the infallibility of their assessments, pointing out that the very same credit-rating agencies had give A ratings to banks that had collapsed the next day.
He stressed that the government had a programme and a series of measures that it had decided on and would stick to, which would lead the country to a green economy.
“We are not taking half-measures. If we took them we might possibly sound better to international markets. We have received a mandate for deep changes. This is the dilemma in Copenhagen. Humanity is changing,” Papandreou underlined, while noting that Greece had lagged behind in the last five years and had a big distance to cover.
Regarding the duration of the pressures on Greece, Papandreou predicted that these would continue and be constant.
“The Greek people, with its government, will prove that we can turn this around, with our own programme and the priorities set by the Greek government,” he underlined.
Concerning the results of the climate change talks in Copenhagen, Papandreou pointed to the large reduction of greenhouse gases by 30 percent offered by the European Union, noting that this would be compensated by the momentum created in the EU and Greece toward a more rapid change of the production model, with the development of new technologies and investments.
“It is an opportunity for us, to succeed in setting the goal of reducing emissions to 30 percent and increasing our forests. There will be an organised European policy that will support even greater change in this sector,” Papandreou said.
He left open the possibility, despite progress made in the talks on Thursday, that a final agreement would not be achieved or might not be signed by all countries, adding that this would lead to another summit in less than a year to create a new momentum.
Both Papandreou and Greece’s Environment and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili noted the pivotal role the EU would play in achieving an agreement, pointing out that neither China nor the United States had brought anything new to the negotiations.
Deputy Foreign Minister for climate change issues Spyros Kouvelis, on his part, underlined that the Greek delegation had been actively involved and present at all international meetings held at Copenhagen.
“[Greece] is beginning to appear as a force that is pushing an agenda for a different model of growth,” he pointed out.
On the sidelines of the climate summit, the Greek prime minister met a number of foreign leaders. There was also a brief meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama during the dinner for heads of state and government held during the climate summit. During this meeting, Obama apparently said that he hoped to receive Papandreou for talks in the United States during the new year.
During the same dinner, Papandreou met Turkish President Abdullah Gul and discussed bilateral relations and the Cyprus issue.
In his address to the climate summit on Thursday, the Greek premier had stressed that the Copenhagen summit was a historic moment in the history of humanity.
“At this time, we are observing the birth of global governance. We must, however, agree to an obligation and be committed to carrying this out,” he stressed.
Regarding Greece’s contribution, he said that as a traditional naval force and leader in maritime transport, Greece would like to see the International Maritime Organisation undertake responsibility for the reduction of greenhouse gases by shipping, stressing that this point should be incorporated into any agreement reached at Copenhagen.
The Greek premier also noted Greece’s willingness to undertake initiatives in collaboration with the Spanish presidency of the EU and with the countries of the Balkans and the Black Sea.
Noting the EU’s readiness to commit to a 30 percent reduction in emissions, he stressed that this offer had to be matched by other developed countries, such as the United States, which should also bring ambitious plans to the negotiating table.