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10 May, 1997
European Commission President Jacques Santer yesterday expressed hope that Greece would remain on the path leading to participation in the single European currency the soonest possible.
In addressing the general assembly of the Federation of Northern Greece Industries, Mr. Santer said that he anticipated higher economic indicators.
"We expect that the economic development in Greece will reach 3.1 per cent in 1997 as against 2.6 per cent in the previous year," he said. He added that a 3.3 per cent growth was anticipated for 1998.
Praising efforts to boost the Greek economy, the president of the European Commission said that the Greek economy had shown steady progress since 1994, while inflation had fallen and a positive trend had been noted in the area of public finances.
He said, however, that "efforts should continue for a long time."
Mr. Santer expressed satisfaction that Greece was enjoying benefits from applying credible macroeconomic policies and said he had no doubt that further benefits would lie ahead if the same pace for the adjustment process continued.
The European Commission president said he was optimistic over opportunities presenting themselves in Greece, particularly in northern Greece and its entrepreneurs, in the new economic framework that was being formulated in the Balkans.
"Greece is doing very well in the specific framework," he added, citing the example of Romania.
"The trade balance between the two countries has been favorable for Greece since 1992," he said adding that, "in 1995, Greece has recorded the third higher trade surplus with Romania after Germany and France."
"A similar situation has occurred with the remaining Balkan countries," he added.
Mr. Santer encouraged northern Greek businessmen to take the opportunities, stressing that such a move would also be to the interest of Greece's EU economic partners.
Source: Athens News Agency