BRUSSELS, Dec. 20, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke to journalists during a press conference following the European Council meeting in Brussels informing them on the final conclusions of the Summit and specific issues which are highly significant for Greece.
Referring to the conclusions on migration and the refugee crisis, he underlined that "Greece is acting within the framework of the EU-Turkey agreement and in cooperation with European border control and coast guard. The European Council confirmed the new action plan on the issue, agreeing upon the need to send more specialized border personnel to the islands, facilitate a speeding up of relocations as well as assisting in returns to the country of origin." He also said that on this issue "Greece has taken up a huge burden for the whole of Europe."
On the issue of Cyprus, Prime Minister Tsipras said that these last meetings represented "A window of opportunity and hope which we should keep open" and that Cypriot President Anastasiades briefed his fellow European leaders on the progress of the negotiations, while the European leaders unanimously agreed that the EU should actively participate in the multilateral negotiations in Geneva.
Discussing finances, Prime Minister Tsipras expressed confidence in Greek progress pointing out Greece has, both in 2015 and 2016, exceeded the revenue targets set out in the agreements, unemployment has fallen to 22.6% approximately 4.5% lower than when his government took office in January 2015 and said that "Greece is in a state of growth. The last two quarters have shown growth and it is more than likely that, despite predictions a year ago, 2016 as a whole will end in positive territory."
Prime minister Tsipras said, "Greeks have sacrificed much in the cause for Europe" and that he was "certain that Greece's consistency and work is recognized by all and will lead to a conclusion of the second review very soon."
He also said that, "We are in a period of time when the European economy is trying to move into growth and during a year that is an electoral one for many countries. At such a critical juncture, capriciousness, games and blackmail have no place. At the end of the day everyone must accept their responsibility."
Regarding the IMF Prime Minister Tsipras pointed out that the insistence on austerity measures after the end of the program in 2019 is undemocratic as "no democratic parliament would pass austerity measures three years down the road, just in case they might be required" while adding that "if the IMF believes that the Greek economy cannot achieve the target in the mid-term of a primary surplus of 3.5% then it would be preferable if it would pressure the European institutions to reduce these fiscal targets" while concluding that the IMF should also understand that "Collective bargaining in labor negotiations is in the nucleus of the European Social Model, so Greece cannot be an exception."
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SOURCE Government of Greece