Highlights from George Papandreou's speech to Parliament



The Greek PM speaks to Greek Parliament.  It was a sober moment.  Too bad, the package will do little to cure Greek Debt load.  Via Market News Part1 Part2:
"First of all, the lack of trust that Greek citizens have in their institutions and the present political system, the lack of credibility of our political system is so great that citizens even show distrust to us and to this government. From the first day however I personally and all of us here have fought battle after battle trying to finally make those profound changes and create a society where justice prevails, where the money of the Greek people is put to good use and where the democratic state protects the rights of its citizens.

..."Thus, the European Union decided to set up a completely new mechanism to support Greece. The decision of the European Union on the 25th March was decisive and historic for Greece but also for Europe. Just think where we would be today without this European support mechanism -- our problems would be unsurpassable.

"We had sincerely believed, both we and our European partners, that the existence of this mechanism would in itself be enough to facilitate the borrowing needs of Greece. Unfortunately that was not the case.

"From the first moment, the first E.U. Council of Ministers I attended as Prime Minister of Greece -- and without once shirking the responsibility of Greece -- I stated that the problem was greater and more serious.


"I stated that it concerned the stability of the financial system of Europe and the Euro, that it concerned the functioning of the international financial system and that a small fire could kindle a firestorm. Some people agreed, some not. Perhaps some thought we were seeking an alibi to offload responsibility instead of undertaking our own responsibilities.

"We however undertake this responsibility despite the decisions of the European Union, positive decisions. Ambiguities gave a signal to the market that there was a lack of decisiveness. Some have targeted Greece which through its own actions became the weak link and guinea-pig. Greece continued to be the target and guinea-pig in an unfavourable international economic climate. It was a weak link and easy prey to speculators.

"Today the problem has assumed greater proportions. We see that the fire threatens to spread harming Greece even more, but also spreading to other countries and economies of the Eurozone and even further afield.

"The cost of putting out the fire is expected to be much greater, as unfortunately will be the burden that Greek citizens have to bear. The need to have recourse to the mechanism unavoidably means additional and more immediate efforts and sacrifices sought by creditors and our partners in order to guarantee financing our needs and for us to move out of the crisis safely.

"I know that with the decisions today our citizens must suffer greater sacrifices. The alternative however would be catastrophe and greater suffering for us all. This is why we have decided not to yield one step. This is not a pleasant decision for me or for anybody. We are here however to take the correct decisions for our country. This was and is our responsibility.

"This is the responsibility that I personally have undertaken to serve. This is a responsibility towards the common interest of Hellenism. We have realized very early on that a European mechanism was needed which could help refinance our debt with record amounts in world history.

"We have set up this mechanism from scratch. We sought its activation a few days ago and today we ratify the agreement. This is an unprecedented agreement and an unprecedented support package for an unprecedented effort by the Greek nation."

..."Ladies and Gentlemen, we know that these are hard sacrifices, but they are necessary. This is the only way that we will be able to finance the 300 billion Euros debt we have. If we do not finance this debt, Greece will go bankrupt.

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