Greece PM sees end to recession in Thessaloniki speech

Antonis Samaras (L) waves as he leaves the International Trade Fair of Thessaloniki Mr Samaras came to the trade fair to give his annual speech on the economy

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras says the country's six years of recession will end next year.

He said that Greece was now an "island of stability" in an ever less stable region.

Mr Samaras was speaking at the Thessaloniki trade fair, which has been the scene of protests about the country's tough austerity measures.

More protests are expected on Saturday, this time in support of civil servants who face losing their jobs.

Four thousand police have been deployed to avoid violence.

Greece's economy has shrunk by 23% since 2008. So far the country has received two bailouts of about 240bn euros (£205bn).

As part of current bailout conditions, the government has been forced to impose drastic cuts, tax rises, and labour market and pension reforms.

'Grecovery'

The BBC's Mark Lowen in Athens said that in a country where economic confidence is sorely lacking, the prime minister showed plenty of it in his Thessaloniki speech.

He told his audience that talk of "Grexit", Greece's departure from the euro, had been replaced by "Grecovery".

He talked up the prospect of foreign investment and said his government was enacting long-delayed reforms such as tackling tax evasion.

European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders project the Greek economy will shrink by 4.2% this year, after contracting by 6.4% in 2012.

But Mr Samaras said the 2013 contraction would be "smaller than forecast".

Greece would achieve a budget surplus this year, Mr Samaras said, apart from interest payments on its loans.

He said Greece had done its part by achieving the largest ever reduction in the budget deficit - and added that the country's creditors must do theirs by further lightening the debt burden.

Mr Samaras ended his speech in patriotic style, saying five or six years of tough challenges could not wipe out 3,000 years of glorious history.

But our correspondent says that, on the streets, few share Mr Samaras' hope.

Protesters are holding a rally on behalf of thousands of civil servants who could lose their jobs, and there is also anger at reports that state-owned defence companies could close.

Greece's economy has shrunk further than any other in Europe. International creditors are expected to review the country's aid programme in the autumn.

More on This Story

More Europe stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Prostitute in red light district in Seoul, South KoreaSex for soldiers

    How Korea helped prostitutes work near US military bases


  • LuckyDumped

    The rubbish collector left on the scrap heap as his city cleans up


  • Walmart employees and supporters block off a major intersection near the Walton Family Foundation to stage a protest calling for $15 an hour and consistent full-time work in downtown Washington October 16, 2014. Black mark

    Wal-Mart workers revolt against the annual shopping bonanza


  • Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1More than 'Games'

    Fact and fiction blur in Mockingjay film.


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • UnderwaterHidden depths

    How do you explore the bottom of the ocean? BBC Future finds out

Programmes

  • All-inclusive holidaysThe Travel Show Watch

    With all-inclusive holidays seeing a resurgence are local trades missing out to big resorts?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.