Greece took over the presidency of the European Union on Wednesday, with one of the lowest presidency budgets in history: €50 million for the next six months.
Strained by a long-lasting economic crisis, Greece aims to use its EU presidency to regain trust among its European partners.
'Two years ago, many were betting on a Greek exit of the euro, an implosion of our common currency, and possible disintegration of the EU. The European Commission has always stood by the side of the Greek Government and people. I always said that the success of Greece is the success of the EU. And thanks to EU support and solidarity, Greece has withstood the hardest period of the crisis. The challenges are still immense, social conditions are still demanding, and unemployment remains at unacceptable levels.' said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
Greece takes the reins of the EU at a difficult time, just months before the end of the current European Parliament. This means that Greece will have less than four months, rather than the full 6 months, to deliver on complicated dossiers.
The main priorities for Athens are the Banking Union, growth and jobs and migration.
'We have to continue to work together to complete the legislative work that we have started notably on the banking union so that we can have a thriving, yet more responsible banking sector and restore normal lending to the economy, notably to SMEs. We have to mobilize all capacities to put our commitments into practice from the Compact for Growth and Jobs and the Youth Guarantee to our migration policy so that we will have more people living in dignity, prosperity and security.' said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
It is the 5th time that Greece assumes the EU rotating presidency since its accession in 1981.