ATHENS, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- Greece will manage to overcome the crisis, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou stressed on Friday, sending a message of hope to Greek people who suffer from a severe economic crisis this year.
"Can we win this battle? Yes, we can," said Papandreou, addressing a gathering of the National Council of the ruling socialist PASOK party on the 36th anniversary of its foundation by his late father Andreas Papandreou who also served as Premier in Greece.
Answering to criticism even by members of PASOK regarding the harsh austerity measures implemented over the past few months, Papandreou stressed that the cutbacks on salaries of civil workers, pensions and raises in taxes were introduced to save Greece from bankruptcy.
The measures were not enforced to Athens by European Union and the International Monetary Fund who financially support the country since this May to face the debt crisis, reduce an enormous debt deficit over a three-year period and return to the path of economic growth, added Papandreou.
His government proceeded to difficult changes in order to ensure a better future for next generations, he said, reminding people of the positive reforms made since October 2009, when PASOK won the general elections.
Recapping his government's first year in power, Papandreou said that restored the country's credibility abroad, and dared revolutionary reforms of the taxation and pension systems, as well as the restructure of central and local governments to slash public expenses.
Pledging to rebuild a country, where social justice would prevail and widespread provocative tax evasion would no longer exist, Papandreou stressed that his government will support the weakest groups of Greek society, starting from low income pensioners.
The Greek premier is expected to release more details on the government's planned policy to achieve this goal during his opening speech at the Thessaloniki International Fair in northern Greece on September 11.
During Friday's address Papandreou also stated that the upcoming November local and regional elections are seen as a barometer of Greek people's feelings for the effort undertaken to solve the structural problems of Greek economy, as a referendum on the agreement with European partners and International Monetary Fund to receive aid in exchange of tough reforms.
"We give this battle all together. Every day, every moment. Despite difficulties, we do not stop. We move forward, facing the future with optimism and hope," said Papandreou, stressing that the dilemma "we change or we sink" remains a historical reality for Greece.
"The international community expected our default. We proved them wrong. We can turn the crisis into an opportunity. We can make it," concluded Papandreou, calling on all Greeks, especially youth to support the government's choices.