ATHENS, March 8 (Xinhua) -- Greece and Europe will emerge stronger from the current economic crisis, a confident European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Saturday.
The EU leader was addressing 800 participants at the 6th European Summit of Regions and Cities hosted in Athens with focus on "European recovery and local solutions."
Members of the EU Committee of the regions, and of national, regional and local parliaments and councils, stakeholders from the Greek civil society, representatives of associations and experts from the EU institutions took part in the two-day event which closed on Saturday noon.
The aim was to take stock of the efforts made at all levels to deliver recovery and to debate the EU's growth and jobs strategy, the challenges the EU faces and its future ahead of the elections for the European Parliament in May, as well as the key role of regional authorities in this course.
"I am confident that Europe can emerge from the crisis not only stronger, but also more united and open," Barroso stressed in his keynote speech.
Referring to the host country Greece, he said "I am confident about the future of Greece," adding that the EU will "stay to support Greece, provided of course that Greeks are able to stay the course of pursuing more competitiveness and make the reforms to have sustainable growth."
He also noted that main priorities of EU policy-making at the moment is "jobs," and "for that we need growth."
He called on European mayors and regional governors to play the significant role in implementing the policies adopted to tackle challenges.
Participants expected the adoption of the "Athens Declaration" on EU's growth strategy "Europe 2020" by the summit could help creating a "smart, sustainable and inclusive economy" by 2020.
"The declaration of Athens which was signed here yesterday is extremely important because it corresponds to the needs of citizens in the midst of crisis, structural deficiencies which have to be repaired and changed," said Greek Defense Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos.
He encouraged regional authorities to make effort to strengthen European integration, "bringing citizens closer to that vision of Europe of the future."