Samaras sees links with Spain, Portugal

New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras returned from a trip to Spain and Portugal on Sunday, saying that Greece had two good friends in the Mediterranean countries and that all three had a ?common fate and problems.?

Samaras met Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Friday and Portuguese Premier Pedro Passos Coelho on Sunday. Both are fellow conservatives. On his return to Athens, Samaras, who is vying to be Greece?s next leader, said that he found much common ground with Rajoy and Passos Coelho.

?I can say with certainty that Greece can count on two good friends in the prime ministers of Spain and Portugal,? he said. ?We have a common fate and problems, a common economic struggle, the need to achieve growth and to fight illegal immigration.?

Following his talks with Rajoy in Madrid, Samaras stressed the issue of immigration. ?We are getting organized and coordinating forces to tackle the huge problem of illegal immigration,? he said. ?We both agree that illegal immigration is creating intolerable problems for the peoples of Southern Europe. These are problems that threaten our social cohesion.

?You can expect some developments on this issue soon,? added Samaras without giving any further details.

Samaras wanted to conduct the trip to Spain and Portugal with the aim of forming a more united front between the three crisis-hit countries with a view to creating a stronger negotiating position within the eurozone. The visit also gave the ND leader an opportunity to grab some praise from his fellow conservatives.

?I am sure that the Greeks deserve the best possible government and a clear majority so that change can be achieved in your country,? said Passos Coelho.

?Of course, you are the most suitable man for the job,? he told Samaras.

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