NEWS

Barroso sees ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ for Greece

Greece’s efforts to implement its bailout program are bearing fruit according to European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso, who said he believed that “now we can say there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

Speaking to the media alongside Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras following a meeting between the two in Brussels on Tuesday, Barroso noted that the financial assistance program, which remained key to Greece’s recovery, was “already giving positive results,” although the economic environment remained fragile and further work was required in order for the gains to be consolidated.

“A year ago the doomsayers were predicting that Greece would have to leave the euro,” said Barroso, adding praise for Samaras’s leadership. “Through your leadership and the determination of the Greek people they have been proved wrong.”

Barroso also highlighted the difficulties faced by Greek citizens, who he said were “operating in extremely challenging and difficult circumstances.”

He noted that a gradual return to growth following six years of recession was expected for Greece in 2014, highlighting that government bond spreads had fallen markedly since their peak in June 2013, economic sentiment had improved, the current account deficit had fallen over the last three years and the country’s debt-to-GDP was set to start declining next year and fall below the 120 percent mark by 2021.

Barroso said the upcoming Greek EU presidency, which begins in January 2014, would play an important role with regard to key legislative files, which incuded the remaining proposals for a banking union as well as kick-starting programs such as the Youth Employment initiative.