Taoiseach Enda Kenny urges Greece to establish trust with Troika

Friday 24 May 2013 10.23
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The Taoiseach said he impressed upon Antonis Samaras the importance of creating a business climate in Greece
The Taoiseach said he impressed upon Antonis Samaras the importance of creating a business climate in Greece
Enda Kenny discussed Ireland's priorities for the remaining weeks of its EU presidency
Enda Kenny discussed Ireland's priorities for the remaining weeks of its EU presidency
Mr Samaras wants to use Ireland as an example of a country returning to financial sovereignty
Mr Samaras wants to use Ireland as an example of a country returning to financial sovereignty

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said establishing trust with the Troika was a key lesson Ireland learned when it entered its bailout programme.

He was speaking during a joint news conference with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras after 90 minutes of talks in Athens.

The Taoiseach said he impressed upon Mr Samaras the importance of creating a business climate in Greece.

He said 250,000 jobs were lost in the private sector in Ireland during the period 2008 and 2011 - nearly 7,000 jobs per month.

But he said 1,000 jobs per month were now being created in the private sector.

When asked if he had given any advice to Mr Samaras on managing a bailout programme, he said he had told his counterpart that when the Coalition came to power there had been a high level of mistrust between the outgoing Fianna Fáil government and the Troika.

Mr Samaras said that Greece had turned the page and was in a new chapter, although he acknowledged that unemployment was still too high.

Greece will take over the rotating EU presidency at the beginning of next year.

Mr Kenny will also meet representatives of the Greek business community during his short official visit.

It is understood Mr Samaras had been keen on a visit by the Taoiseach for some time.

Diplomats suggest the centre right leader is anxious to convey to the Greek electorate, using Ireland as an example, the idea that a country can emerge from a bailout and return to financial sovereignty.

Greece is in the seventh year of a recession and the economy is still contracting.

Unemployment stands at around 27%, with youth unemployment over 60%.

The country's debt pile is still over €300bn.

There are some signs of hope, as two ratings agencies have upgraded Greece and the country's bond yields have lowered.

Greece's international lenders recently approved a further €7.3bn in loans.

The country is just about on track to reach its fiscal targets this year, but it may need a further loan to reach its targets in 2015.

The coalition government, which was assembled following a close election a year ago, has just about survived and appears stable, but Greece is still in a very fragile state.