European Leaders Express Somber New Year Messages

Posted December 31st, 2011 at 6:05 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

European leaders delivered somber New Year's messages to their citizens Saturday.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy warned that France's future will hang in the balance in 2012. He acknowledged that many people are starting the new year worried about the future of their children and that emerging from the crisis will remain a challenge for the continent.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the past year in Europe was marked by the financial crisis. But she reminded citizens that the peaceful continent is a historical gift and that lessons could be learned from past mistakes.

” One of these is that a common that a common currency can only be successful if we work together more than ever in Europe. Europe is growing closer in the crisis. The road to overcome it remains long and not without setbacks, but at the end of this path Europe will re-emerge stronger from the crisis than it was when it entered it.”

Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos also warned that the coming year will be difficult and urged Greeks to accept austerity.

“We have to continue our efforts with determination, so that the sacrifices we have made up to now won't be in vain, so that we prevent this crisis from developing into disorder, so that we can continue to use the euro as our currency, so that we return to the path of development and reduce unemployment.”

Athens has cut down its spending on holiday festivities and used the funds to help the needy.

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev was somewhat more optimistic in his last televised message of the outgoing year. He said that 2011 was “not easy” but that it is ending well for the country as a result of people's joint efforts.

Pope Benedict marked the end of the year with prayers of thanks and said humanity awaits the new year with apprehension, but also with hope for a better future.