Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced on Saturday that nearly 600,000 Greeks will see an increase in their salary.
"As of today, April 1, the minimum wage rises to 780 euros, the highest level ever. Therefore, at the end of the month, 585,000 people will see an increase in their salaries. Since 2019, when we took over the government, the minimum wage has increased by 20 percent," he said on social media.
"I am well aware that wages in our country are still low. Obviously the new increase doesn't solve the problem. But our country - thanks to the dynamic growth of the economy that we have achieved - is gradually converging with Europe in terms of income," the premier continued.
"Among the 22 European countries that have a minimum wage, Greece is currently in 10th place. This path of convergence must not be stopped," Mitsotakis added.
The prime minister underlined that the big bet for the next four years is an even more dynamic increase in the incomes of all citizens, "as long as the Greek people trust us again."
On Friday, Mitsotakis said constructing the Evros border fence, which the government expects to help prevent the influx of irregular migrants, is "a national demand."
The Greek premier was attending an event to sign the contract for the fence's extension by 35km from its current length of 37.5km, from Psathades to Kornofolia, with a budget of 99.2 million euros.
The Greek government estimates that the current fence prevented the illegal entry of some 260,000 migrants in 2022.
Mitsotakis promised that the fence, made of galvanized steel metal railing measuring five meters high and six meters underground, will be extended to cover the entire 140km length of the Greece's land border with Turkey.
Eventually, the fence will also feature seven overhead anti-ballistic observatories with armored cabins.
The prime minister also mentioned the recent improvement of Greek-Turkish relations as a "welcome positive step," but condemned incidents in the recent past which he said were characterized by the neighboring country's attempts to instrumentalize migrants and refugees.
Ahead of Greece's May 21 national elections, Mitsotakis also called on main opposition party Syriza-Progressive Alliance leader Alexis Tsipras to clarify his position on the overall issue of the fence.
The fence extension contract was signed by Citizen Protection Minister Takis Theodorikakos, TERNA construction company appointed advisor Alexandros Michailidis, and Vice President & CEO of Intrakat Group, Alexandros Exarchou.
The event was also attended by Asylum & Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi.
For their part, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) criticised the extension of the border fence at Evros, calling it a stratagem "to attract far-right party voters," on Friday.
At the same time, the party said, both ruling New Democracy and main opposition SYRIZA "stay mum on the cause of the problem and try to cover up their barbaric policy again at the expense of thousands of uprooted people, who are the victims of imperialist wars and impoverishment."
KKE also criticised "the faithful observance of the unacceptable EU-Turkey Joint Statement and the EU Dublin Regulation" as part of policies that "have turned Evros and the Aegean into a grave for thousands of dead and Greece into a repository of souls."
The so-called legal migration paths are nothing else but agreements between countries so they can find cheap labor, it added.
PASOK-Movement For Change leader Nikos Androulakis on Friday charged the Greek prime minister of obscuring certain facts relating to the Evros border fence, speaking at Star Forum 2023 conference.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis "is only telling half the truth," he said, "as construction of the fence was actually started by Pasok."
Furthermore, Androulakis noted that Mitsotakis' fellow European People's Party (EPP) politicians "congratulate him on the fence, but have vetoed to the revision of the Dublin Regulation" that could have relieved Greece, Italy and Spain as EU entry countries responsible for examining asylum applications.
In his four years as Greece's premier, Mitsotakis never mentioned this to his EPP team or to the European Council, Androulakis pointed out, as the "European Right would never have allowed this discussion," he added.
Androulakis did clarify that his party stands in favor of the border fence and the effective protection of borders overall.
Pasok's strategic growth plan, as he called it, centers on three key aspects:
- Funneling 8-10% of Recovery Fund resources to the National Health System for strong primary health
- Making available 150,000 homes for young couples and students with social criteria
- Financing of small and medium enterprises from Recovery Fund resources
On potential post-elections collaboration with other parties to form a coalition government should any single party fail to form a standalone government, the Pasok leader said that "we ask for a strong percentage from voters so that we can then negotiate from a position that can guarantee what we promise during our electoral campaign."
"Coalition governments based on clear policies, respecting institutions, with highly reliable personalities, can create a framework of security and perspective for Greek people," Androulakis asserted.
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