ATHENS, Greece — Greece's Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and the head of the European Commission are striking an optimistic note as the country assumes the European Union's rotating six-month presidency, with both underlining how far the financially stricken nation has come in reforming its economy.
Samaras stressed Wednesday that Greece has made "great sacrifices" and is now leaving the crisis behind it. Greece has been dependent on rescue loans from other European countries and the International Monetary Fund since 2010, and has had to impose harsh austerity measures in return.
Samaras stressed that Athens would focus on economic recovery, fighting unemployment and tackling security issues, including migration, during Greece's presidency.
For his part, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso stressed financial rescue packages do work, and he urged the Greek government and people to stick to their reforms.
He said Greece is expected to emerge from its recession this year, proving that those who had predicted it would be forced out of the EU's common currency were wrong.
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