To restore the Ministry of Merchant Marine was one of the first acts that distinguished the cabinet of Antonis Samaras from Greece’s governments in the last three years. After taking the power, PASOK merged the Greek Ministry of Merchant Marine with that of Economy and Development. It added the word "competitiveness" to the name of the new institution and created a mega-ministry, which had many duties and a few successes, especially in a period of deepening crisis.
"The fleet is a sector of national superiority. It can certainly and without effort take the country out of the crisis and return it to the path of economic development quickly and decisively." These were the first words of the new Minister Kostis Moussouroulis after taking over the post. Senior representatives of the navy, marine contractors and regular employees of the Ministry attended the official ceremony of transfer of power. The spirits were high and the exchange of positions from the old to the new minister took place under the accompaniment of the brass band of the national civil fleet.
Moussouroulis said that it is an honour for him to head a key ministry like that of the fleet and promised to lead small and large struggles in order to reach small and large victories. He urged all the major players associated with shipping to unite in an ongoing dialogue in order to achieve the best possible results in improving the sector.
Caretaker Minister Yiannis Stournaras, who said that shipping could double its contribution to GDP if the right conditions for its development were created, delivered the ministerial seat. Shipping, industrial fishing and development of port structures are major forces in Greece, said Minister Stournaras in his last address. He stressed that the coordination of the general framework of national economic policy should help support the activities related to the fleet. "The big problem of the Greek economy is the lack of confidence and liquidity," he said, adding that the task of the new tripartite government will not be easy.
An hour earlier, Stournaras had delivered another ministry into the hands of the new government - that of Economy and Development. Kostis Hatzidakis has headed it and it has been renamed as Ministry of Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks. In his long and detailed speech, Hatzidakis said, among many other things, "From tomorrow, the new government will tackle issues that affect each and every Greek man and woman. I always remember Konstantinos Karamanlis, who returned to Greece in a crisis period like the one in which we live today and said, "Pray for me." The success of the government will be success for the country. So, we must find all common grounds and understand that we will either succeed or fail together," concluded Hatzidakis.
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