Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told the Financial Times that he would not return the strict and unpopular oversight imposed on his country by the “troika” of the EU, the European Central Bank and the IMF that crippled Greece during the debt crisis that emerged in 2008.
He highlighted how the troika forced Greece “to do reforms” even though “there was never really any domestic buy-in.”
“Greeks have matured a lot,” he said. “And we want to do our own reforms.”
Wealthy northern EU countries like Sweden, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands are opposed to the European Commission’s plans for a €750 billion recovery fund.
“I don’t think any additional strict conditionality is necessary,” Mitsotakis said, highlighting that southern EU member countries would find it “politically unacceptable.”
When discussing COVID-19, Mitsotakis told the Financial Times that “It was very obvious to me that at some point we needed to go into full lockdown mode. And my political decision was to do it sooner rather than later.”
The Financial Times highlighted that even though Greece is struggling with the pandemic and the economic decline caused by it, Greece also has to contend with the “aggressive behaviour” of Turkey.
Mitsotakis emphasised that although Greece was a “top choice” for tourists this summer, Greece will only see a “fraction” of the 33 million visitors it received in 2019.
When speaking about the economy, the Greek Prime Minister said “we have a very, very aggressive reform agenda” that includes a green and digital transition.
“Covid did a lot to discredit those who believe that there are easy and simplified solutions to complicated problems, and those who always want to hold somebody else accountable for their own shortcomings,” he said.
“This doesn’t work when you have to save lives on a daily basis and I think people realise that, not just in Greece but also at the global level,” Mitsotakis concluded.