© Copyright Embassy of Greece 1996-2005. All Rights Reserved.
04 April, 1998
Speaking at the Euro-Asian summit (ASEM II) here yesterday, Prime Minister Costas Simitis stressed the significance of boosting efforts to overcome a "crisis of confidence" and to restore normal conditions in the functioning of recently hard-hit Asian economies.
He made three points regarding certain lessons to be drawn from the crisis:
Firstly, the necessity of creating conditions of greater stability in the international economy's functioning.
"We must boost the mechanisms that prevent and avert such serious crises particularly in international capital markets," he said.
Secondly, that actions of the European Union in that regard should take into account the need for safeguarding success in meeting the challenge of the common currency.
And thirdly, the need for promoting structural changes in Asian economies.
He also stressed the importance of the provision of technical aid for financial restructuring, the fight against mechanisms for money laundering and drug trafficking, as well as cooperation in the fields of environmental protection and protection of the dignity of women and children.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, the Greek prime minister said the leaders attending the summit had decided that the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and other organizations would undertake the task of establishing greater transparency in the movements of international capital, so as to boost the stability of the international economy.
"We agreed that something had to be done, and this is a very important step," he said.
Replying to questions on the likely impact which the decisions reached at the summit would have on the everyday life of Greek citizens, Mr. Simitis said that in the most developed countries and Greece, the increases in the remuneration of workers could take the form of increases in the quality of life and technological services.
Referring to the drachma's incorporation onto the European Union's Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM), the prime minister said he had found full support from his EU counterparts attending the summit. He was replying to a reporter's question on talk of fears that consumer price inflation might resurge, following a 14 per cent devaluation on March 14, which was linked to the ERM entry.
"All (the leaders) I spoke to offered their support and congratulations. They also expressed their conviction that the Greek economy had taken steady steps forward and is now entering the final phase towards Economic and Monetary Union," Mr. Simitis said.
The premier met British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Thursday evening at 10 Downing Street for talks on EU developments.
In a related development, Mr. Simitis said yesterday that he had accepted an invitation to visit the People's Republic of China following a meeting on the sidelines of the Europe-Asia summit.
The invitation was made by Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji, and the date will be set through diplomatic channels, Mr. Simitis said.
He also described Greece's relations with China as extremely good.
Greece, Japan seek closer economic ties:
Finally, Mr. Simitis and his Japanese counterpart Ryutaro Hashimoto also met to discuss closer bilateral economic ties. Currently, the trade balance is in Japan's favor.
The two premiers also discussed boosting Japanese tourism to Greece, Mr. Simitis said.
Source: Athens News Agency