|Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras inaugurates the 77th Thessaloniki International Fair, in Thessaloniki, Greece, Sept. 8, 2012. Samaras on Saturday stressed that a fresh austerity package under discussion is necessary to regain credibility and overcome the threatening debt crisis. (Xinhua/Vasilis Ververidis)
ATHENS, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Saturday stressed that a fresh austerity package under discussion is necessary to regain credibility and overcome the threatening debt crisis.
"We are at a crucial crossroads," Samaras said when inaugurating the 77th Thessaloniki International Fair in the northern Greek city port. "In order to avert the catastrophe we had to restore credibility," he added.
The annual commercial exhibition for decades has been the showcase of achievements of Greek and foreign entrepreneurs, and an opportunity for Greek Premiers to present their economic policies. But on Saturday, thousands protesters in the streets were denouncing austerity.
Samaras acknowledged in a short statement that Greek citizens suffer from recession due to rounds of painful spending cuts to counter the crisis since 2010.
He underlined, however, that there is no alternative way at the moment rather than the implementation of an additional 11.5 billion-euro (14.7 billion U.S. dollars) austerity package to 2014.
The reduction of deficits and the acceleration of the structural reform part of the bailout deals with EU and International Monetary Fund (IMF) are the keys to regain the trust of creditors and unlock further rescue loans this autumn to boost liquidity, growth, keep Greece away from the brink of default and in the eurozone, he argued.
But, as Samaras aims to finalize the new austerity package in talks in Athens with his two junior coalition partners on Sunday and visiting EU/IMF auditors on Monday to secure new multi billion euro funding under bailout agreements, reactions by labor unions culminate.
Approximately 20,000 protesters participated on Saturday in a series of peaceful rallies organized in Thessaloniki by the two umbrella unions of public and private sector employees, ADEDY and GSEE, along opposition Left parties.
They all pledged to step up mobilizations in coming days and weeks, as the government will be pushing through the parliament the new spending cuts.