Greece will exit the bailout era in August 2018 but will have to prove it has changed, European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said on Thursday, in a speech at a one-day event titled “Towards a multi-speed Europ? Challenges and Impact on the EU and Greece”, organized by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
“On August 21, 2018, Greece is exiting a seven-year bailout era. Therefore, the first day after the memorandum will find a country that has not just changed, but will have to prove it has changed, in this new, demanding arena of integration. And I believe this will be possible,” he told attendees at the event titled
“I believe it is a national effort, in which there’s no place for quarrels and divisions, but only for unity and commitment to the targets,” he added.
Commenting on the future of Europe, he said the 27 member-states should move forward in unity to tackle the challenges ahead.
“Our own narrative, the Commission’s, is not a multi-speed Europe. We put on the table the scenario of the multi-speed Europe to prove its limits. But what we have described is a unifying agenda,” he said and continued: “Europe’s strategic destination is for the ’27’ to stay together in efforts for unification, especially now that the twenty-eighth member will bid us goodbye”
Schinas said “the game has not been won yet” but Europe managed to survive the refugee crisis, the economic crisis, problems in the Eurozone, the challenges to the EU’s cohesion and more.
“In these two years, Europe proved much more resilient that what the Cassandras, the doomsayers and the prophets of evil expected,” he said, noting that economies in the EU are growing for the first time after eight years and unemployment is lowering.
“We have not made a full U-turn but the first green leaves of growth are becoming more visible. The tsunami of populism which many believed would sweep Europe, did not succeed. I’m not saying it has been crashed, but it has been defeated,” he added and presented the new prospects for the EU through the proposals of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.