Samaras to Bill Clinton: Economy in “Great Depression”; Clinton Promised to Help

Posted by in Economy

Former US-president  Bill Clinton and Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras agreed that the economic situation in Greece needs support. “Greece’s economy is in Great Depression  similar to the American one in the 1930s” Samaras told Clinton and he replied “Austerity is not working.”

Bill Clinton met Antonis Samaras in Athens on Sunday in the context of the Hellenic Initiative, a group of Greek-American business leaders cooperating with Clintons’ “global inititiative” foundation.

“You had the Great Depression in the United States,” Samaras told Clinton, who was visiting Greece as part of a delegation of Greek-American businessmen. “This is exactly what we’re going through in Greece – it’s our version of the Great Depression.”

Mr Clinton criticized Greece’s lenders for focusing excessively on austerity, saying Athens will be more likely to repay its debt if its manages economic recovery first.

“(It) is self-defeating… if every day people are saying this may or may not work to give us back a 100 cents on the dollar, so give us more austerity today,” he told Samaras.

“People need something to look forward to when they get up in the morning – young Greeks need something to believe in so they can stake their future out here,”  Clinton said.

“We need to jump-start the economy and move ahead with reforms to restore competitiveness . . . with the support of our European partners and the vibrant communities of the Greek diaspora.”

The talks focused on ways of attracting investment and strengthening the Greek economy and the country’s international credibility with the help of overseas Greeks and the Clinton Foundation,  Samaras said.

According to Eurostat, the EU statistics arm, almost 30 per cent of Greeks are already at risk of poverty and social exclusion. This number is estimated to be rising, according to an official at the Athens branch of the Niarchos Foundation, a US-based charity. (Financial Times)

“Greece hopes to attract millions of dollars in inward investment and charitable donations following Clintons’ visit” FT stressed.

According to Greek Reporter

“The Hellenic Initiative,” a non-profit organization is organized by Greeks of the Diaspora that aims to help Greece overcome the current crisis. The program aims to raise $100 million to help Greek charities struggling during the country’s economic crisis and in its second phase to attract investments and improve Greece’s image.

Hellenic Initiative leaders, include Chicago money manager John Calamos, Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris and Washington attorney George Stamas. The group wants to use donations to help Greece make structural reforms including improving tax collections to raise revenues in a culture of rampant tax evasion, and promote foreign investment, but its primary mission is to help charities it said have a record for accountability and transparency in a country where corruption is rife.

Diaspora leaders have for years tried to help Greece but been rebuffed. Clinton’s involvement and his work in global programs is expected to give this effort a critical boost.”

And here we are: We, Greeks, in need of charities and donations. But most of all we are in need of investments to create jobs and give people their dignity back!

Other sources: Reuters, Greek media, Telegraph