National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou is seen here moments after speaking to the press yesterday. Papathanassiou, who took part in a Cabinet meeting, said that despite 2009 being considered a difficult period, there are expectations of an improvement to the economy before the year is up. ‘Despite all the difficulties, there is an estimate that things will start getting better around the end of 2009,’ he said. Papathanassiou repeated his belief that Greece’s economy will outperform the results forecast in the European Commission’s interim report, released earlier this week, and pointed out the problems faced across the EU. ‘We have a budget deficit and unemployment lower than the European average,’ said the minister, responding to criticism over the outlook for Greece.