Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is pledging that the economy in his recession-plagued country can start to grow again by early 2014.
Auditors for Greece’s international creditors are in Athens to check on the government’s progress in imposing unpopular austerity measures to cut its deficit and the country is mired in the fifth year of a devastating economic retreat. But Mr. Samaras told parliament Tuesday that while the government must change some of its practices, he foresees a brighter future.
“Over this year we will begin to contain the recession, and by the beginning of 2014, we will be able to move towards recovery.”
Some European leaders have attacked Greece for its slow pace in reforming its government, but Samaras says they will be surprised.
“We will prove that Greece can pleasantly surprise both friends and opponents, even itself.”
But the economic reforms remain unpopular and draw frequent protests. The leader of one civil servants’ group, Kostas Tsikrikas, said demands for more austerity hurt pensioners and workers.
“We demand the government to finally place the weight of reforms on the higher-income classes and not constantly on the pensioners and the wage earners. The European Union must change policy because this policy of harsh and one-sided austerity is a dead end. It is driving us to recession and unemployment.”
(Photo: Council of the European Union)