10 August, 2004
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis in a televised message just before 8 p.m. on Monday said that "the Olympic Games are a national issue, the success of which will judge the image of Greece all over the world."
Karamanlis thanked all those who contributed "to this enormous effort, such as the artists, creators and workers." The prime minister stressed that "without exception, all the political parties and the country's governments contributed to this effort." These works, he said, were done "through the sacrifices of the people" whom he thanked.
He further underlined the contribution of the International Olympic Committee, the Athens 2004 Olympic Organizing Committee as well as the politicians, technocrats and volunteers.
"The success will belong to all Greeks and will be a victory for Greece which sets high standards for efforts and progress, which unites its forces, which gives its best self, with certainty, optimism and effectiveness," Karamanlis said.
The prime minister said that "the challenge of the Games is collective and individual given that for a few days we will have to change our habits and host visitors from all over the world who are coming to feel the aura of the country where the Games were born and revived."
"We are in the final stretch of this enormous effort from which we will emerge stronger and more optimistic," he added.
Karamanlis reminded that during the days of the Olympic Games, "Greece will live at a different pace" and called on all Greeks "to welcome the thousands of tourists who will come to experience Greek culture and Greek hospitality."
Referring to security measures, Karamanlis stressed that "with the contribution of our friends and allied countries, we have done everything humanly possible for all the athletes, missions and visitors to be safe," adding that "Greece is ready for successful Games with conditions of utmost security."
Regarding the post-Olympic period, Karamanlis said that "the aim is to convert the excess value of the Games to added value for the Greek economy, the development of the country, the prosperity of the entire Greek society for today and the next generations."
He also called on the citizens to fill the stadiums "for every Greek to have a memory of the celebration and his own presence in the historic uniqueness." He stressed that "the time has come for us to feel proud of Greece, of Greece which insists, struggles and wins, Greece which unites and inspires us.'' He added that "after the Games we will all be more experienced, stronger, more certain of our potential and Greece will have greater international projection, better infrastructures, better knowledge, it will be a more optimistic country."
Karamanlis said that "we want the 2004 Games to send to the international community a message of bringing peoples and nations together."
Concluding, the prime minister said: "Let us all enjoy the great moment and reward the efforts of the athletes, sending to all corners of the world the image of modern Greece."
Source: Athens News Agency