by Aggelos Skordas
Following the last Eurogroup meeting which set the economic policy for Greece’s first post-bailout period, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has presented the government’s strategy that is required to implement the necessary reforms that would guarantee the country’s safe transition to an era of no economic and fiscal supervision.
“Now is not the time to look at the past, even though we must always remind ourselves and the people of the past. It is the moment to look to the future. The next day. The next day is hopeful. We secured measures for debt relief, which gives us the ability as a country to acquire steady and independent access to markets”, Tsipras said while addressing a cabinet meeting on Monday.
“It is our first meeting after the historic decision of the Eurogroup on June 21 which ended irrevocably the circle of reviews and bailouts and provided a definitive solution to the sustainability of Greek debt”, he added while referring to the European finance ministers summit on the country’s fourth program review and the debt relief package, which he characterised as “historic”. As he underlined, Eurogroup acknowledged the sacrifices made by the Greek people throughout the last eight years of crisis.
On August 21st, Tsipras continued, Greece will be a country standing on its feet again. “The elected governments will decide on the measures applied, to reach agreed fiscal targets”, he said, warning his ministers that the next 14 months will be hard, although the coalition has the ability to be proven effective.
Increased minimum wage, lower taxation, stronger welfare state, effective civil service section and investments are among the government’s priorities for the future, the Greek Premier pointed out, while explaining that the detailed framework of the “next day’s” policies will be presented at the International Fair of Thessaloniki in September.
The exit to markets will take place without financial pressure and will aim at the best management of our debt, Tsipras added. The Greek Parliament is scheduled to debate the Eurogroup agreement on Thursday, as requested by the main opposition.
The Greek Premier went on to launch an attack against main opposition New Democracy and its leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, whom he accused of distorting the truth and the government’s achievements in the economy and said that despite the opposition’s negative projections there will be no additional austerity measures in the future. “They prefer that the country remained hostage to memorandum supervision. Thankfully, we proved them wrong”, he said.
Moreover, Tsipras claimed that Mitsotakis’ extreme rhetoric over the FYROM issue is legitimising far-right activism and a rhetoric, which flirts with fascism: “He is cultivating fanatical rhetoric, division, and extreme fascistic political formations, which they feel is safe to come out of its hiding place again.”