The government must now speed up structural change to make up for lost ground. In a few hours, a European dream will have become reality. The European Union’s 300 million citizens will hold in their hands the euro, their single currency, the most tangible evidence of the strengthening union. This historic event signals a new era for Greece, which for years struggled to break the cycle of uncertainty caused by monetary and foreign exchange instability. No matter how great the difficulties of the changeover might be, nothing can lessen the significance of the historic fact that the fragile drachma is being replaced by the stable and powerful euro. Greece is breaking the cycle that plagues uncertain, developing countries, and is joining the club of the strong economies, dealing in one of the three strongest currencies in the world. This is a major achievement, a strong basis for progress and development. And it is a unique challenge, both an opportunity and a trial, for a country that maintained a closed economy after World War II, remaining both protected and isolated. It is now called upon to join the world, to compete with powerful forces, to open itself up to an environment that is both more competitive and transparent, where flaws cannot be hidden and every kind of deficit can be held up to the light. Coming out after the meal of fish, soup and white wine, Denktash shouted to waiting reporters that the meeting had been «excellent.» He also wished them a happy New Year.