Papademos warns against euroskeptics

In what was seen as an attempt to encourage Greeks to back the parties that stand by the country?s bailout at the May 6 elections, Prime Minister Lucas Papademos on Friday slammed euroskeptics and insisted that Greece would begin to see signs of recovery next year.

Speaking at an event organized by Greece?s export associations, Papademos said that Athens had failed to build on the advantages of joining the eurozone but stressed that the country?s best hope for exiting the crisis rests with remaining in the single currency.

?The great majority of the Greek people recognizes and is aware of the real, multiple and long-term advantages of European integration and of the euro for our country,? said Papademos. ?We have to defend this, especially against the cries of euroskeptics, europhobes and those that favor marginalization.?

The key issue in the May 6 elections is where parties stand on Greece?s new loan deal. PASOK and New Democracy, which voted for it, were in a minority, according to recent opinion polls.

Papademos insisted that if the next government, which may be a coalition between PASOK and ND, sticks to the fiscal adjustment and reform program Greece will overcome the crisis.

?Let us stay focused on the targets,? he said. ?We will soon have stability, improvement and recovery in the Greek economy. This will come in the second half of 2013.?

In a commentary published in The Guardian newspaper, ex-premier Costas Simitis said Greece was not responsible for the eurozone crisis but was merely the spark that exposed the inherent flaws within the single currency.

?The cause lies in the fact the eurozone is a fully fledged monetary union but an incomplete economic and fiscal union of member states with different structures: the more mature economies of the European north and the less mature ones of the European south,? he wrote in a piece written with Yannis Stournaras, head of the IOBE think-tank.