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President Barroso welcomes Greek presidency 2014 as positive sign

Antonis Samaras, on the left, and José Manuel Barroso

President Barroso has welcomed Greece's Council presidency in 2014 as a confirmation of renewed confidence in the country. "Prime Minister Samaras, a year ago the doomsayers were predicting that Greece would have to leave the euro," President Barroso told Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras during a press conference in Brussels on Tuesday.

"Through your leadership and the determination of the Greek people, they have been proved wrong. Not only that, but we see, now, better signals for the future. And you will be taking on the responsibility of a Council presidency of the European Union. I look forward to working with you at this decisive time for Europe," he said.

President Barroso met Mr Samaras in Brussels to discuss plans for the presidency, which kicks off in January 2014. They also discussed developments in the Greek economy and the financial assistance programme, which President Barroso said was "giving positive results". However, he said that further work was needed to consolidate the programme's gains. "The economic situation is still fragile and this is not the time to take our hands off the wheel but to roll up our sleeves," he said, adding that the Commission "continues to stand by" the Greek people during this challenging time. "I know that the Greek citizens are operating in extremely challenging and difficult circumstances, but I believe now we can say there is light at the end of the tunnel," he said.

He offered Prime Minister Samaras the Commission's support in the run-up to and during the upcoming presidency. "The Greek presidency will play an important role in ensuring that key legislative files are taken forward in the Council in the first crucial six months of 2014," President Barroso said. "I'm sure that from now until then, we will make also progress in delivering concrete results."

Read the President's statement after the meeting

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