By Stephen C. Webster Thursday, August 23, 2012 12:32 EDT

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A view from a Greek island. Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.

The Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said this week that the country is willing to sell off its uninhabited islands as part of a plan to accelerate privatization across the country, telling French newspaper Le Monde that it is the only way to save Greece.

The prime minister was quoted that Greece would still retain national sovereignty over any islands sold to private investors, “on condition that it doesn’t pose a national security problem.”

“It would not be a case of getting rid of the isles, but of transforming unused terrain into capital that can generate revenue, for a fair price,” Samaras reportedly said.

The country possesses about 6,000 tiny islands in the Mediterranean Sea, but only about 227 are actually inhabited. Samaras reportedly said that the Greece is finally willing to let some of the uninhabited islands be used for commercial purposes, which Greek lawmakers have long resisted.

The German government first suggested in 2010 that Greece sell off some islands, drawing outrage. In Thursday’s edition of Le Monde, Samaras painted a dark picture of a potential Greek exit from Europe’s common currency and insisted the government continue selling off assets and public lands