Greece is on the road to recovery. That much is now clear, with the nation building positive momentum in coming back from six long and difficult years of recession.
As someone who has always felt a special connection to Greece and the Greek people, I've been heartened by recent news that Greece's economy has been growing this year and is expected to strengthen further in 2015.
To be sure, too many Greeks are still out of work. Too many communities, families and individuals are still just getting by after being pulled and stretched by the difficulties of recent years.
But there are unmistakable signs that a brighter future is beginning to dawn. And, for the Greek people and their many friends and admirers, not a moment too soon.
In addition to the growing economy, which expanded at an annual rate of 1.7 percent in the third quarter (outpacing all other EU nations), the employment picture is also improving. Economists expect unemployment, now at 27 percent, to fall to 22 percent by 2016. Still too high, yes, but headed in the right direction.
Greece's overall fiscal health has improved in the wake of some difficult and at times painful reform measures. And the country's banking system is stronger than it has been in some time, recently passing a battery of stress tests.
The Greek people can -- and should -- take pride in these critical steps forward, which they have brought about through their hard work, tough choices and an unwavering commitment to bring their nation back from the brink.
As this has happened, I believe a new spirit of entrepreneurism has been growing in Greece, as more companies and individual business people take action to renew and reinvent the country's economic vitality.
At the same time, people across Greece are coming together in solidarity to support their less fortunate neighbors, including those hardest hit by the lengthy downturn.
As for The Coca-Cola Company, we have continued to invest in Greece in recent years, along with our bottling partners at Coca-Cola Hellenic.
This year, we also opened our Consumer Information Center hub in Athens. Through this facility, our people -- most of them young Greeks -- are able to connect and share information with consumers across 10 countries in Central and Southern Europe.
Through it all, our belief in the people of Greece and the long-term promise of this market never wavered. We've continued to invest in our brands and our broader beverage portfolio in Greece.
From here, we can all be encouraged by the steady progress being made by the Greek people and their institutions.
Indeed, I believe my friend Arianna Huffington and her colleagues have chosen a most opportune moment to launch The Huffington Post here in Greece.
This nation has always been a place of grand heroic stories, where great acts of struggle and sacrifice eventually become the stuff of legend.
Today, such stories are being lived out every day by countless men and women across Greece. Professionals. Teachers. Business people. Entrepreneurs. Doctors. Shop keepers. Laborers. Moms and dads. Clergy members. People of every station and every type of work.
And the writers and editors at The Huffington Post? They will help tell Greece's new heroic stories, among others, and they will inspire readers like you to still greater personal and public triumphs, of the sort that myths are ultimately made."