Antonis Samaras says economy is regaining its competitiveness and is on track to return to pre-crisis levels

The Prime Minister of Greece Antonis Samaras has insisted the worst is almost over for his country and reassured Greeks that the debt-stricken nation’s longest recession would soon be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Boosted by figures showing the economy contracting by 3.8% in the second quarter — its smallest decline since the outbreak of Athens’s worst financial crisis in modern times — the leader said the country’s dependency on foreign lenders was also nearing an end.

“Greece is turning a page ... all the international organisations agree that next year, 2014, will be the year of recovery for the Greek economy,” he told industry and business leaders attending the annual Thessaloniki trade fair. “Last year most abroad were predicting that Greece would exit the euro. Now they are predicting the exact opposite. That Greece will exit the recession and stay in the euro,” he said promising that the progress would hail the end of unpopular austerity.

The fair is traditionally used by Greek prime ministers to outline their economic policies. Using the keynote speech to list the achievements of his 14-month government, Mr. Samaras said Athens had not only made the biggest fiscal adjustment “in world history”, but emerged with an economy that in regaining its competitiveness was on track to return to pre-crisis levels. Much of the rebound is due to an unexpectedly good tourism season. Copyright: Guardian News & Media 2013