Former U.S. President Bill Clinton met with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Sunday, as he represented a delegation of prominent Greek-Americans who are hoping to promote investments in Greece through the Hellenic Initiative Program.
The Hellenic Initiative Program is working in collaboration with the Clinton Global Initiative Foundation to boost investment and charitable donations in Greece, thus prompting Clinton's visit to Athens.
During the meeting between the former president and the Greek Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras told Clinton "You had the Great Depression in the United States. This is exactly what we're going through in Greece - it's our version of the Great Depression."
The Athens News reported Samaras went on to describe Clinton as "a friend of Greece", thanking him for his participation in the Hellenic Initiative which aims to establish a fund to promote foreign investments in Greece.
The FT reported Samaras stated "We need to jump-start the economy and move ahead with reforms to restore competitiveness . . . with the support of our European partners and the vibrant communities of the Greek diaspora." Clinton responded by saying "I think that together, we can do something to help."
Greece is currently enduring its fifth year of recession, exacerbated by ineffective austerity measures imposed by the EU which have resulted in further stagnation of the economy. The government has been slow to respond to the need for reforms though even though layers of bureaucracy stifle growth and investment.