ECB’s Lagarde: Greek Resilience Should Inspire Europe

25 October 2023

By Isabel Teles – ATHENS (Econostream) – European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde on Wednesday said that Greece could be an example to Europe in overcoming challenges.

In a speech the night before the Governing Council meeting in Athens, a text of which was posted to the website of the ECB, Lagarde congratulated Greeks for their resilience, but said she would not comment on monetary policy due to the quiet period ahead of the meeting.

‘This [Greek] example can serve as an inspiration for all of us as we contend with a more volatile world and the many challenges it brings’, she said. ‘…it is an example of the importance of being part of something bigger – our shared European destiny.’

She observed that ‘Greece has also been at the forefront of the global challenges facing Europe', in an allusion to the crisis that started in 2009, climate change and migration, but ‘has made an impressive comeback from the pandemic.'

‘Real GDP per capita is now almost 10% above its pre-pandemic level – a much stronger performance than the euro area as a whole’, she said. ‘The unemployment rate has also declined steeply, and was 10.9% in August, the lowest level since the end of 2009.’

There had also been progress in the debt situation as the economy strengthened, she said.

‘Greece’s public debt-to-GDP ratio has dropped 35 percentage points from its peak of 206% in 2020, one of the fastest falls in the world’, she said.