2024 state budget passes in Greek Parliament

state budget Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis

After a five-day debate, the Greek Parliament approved the 2024 State Budget on Sunday.

The 2024 budget passed with 158 lawmakers in favour and 142 lawmakers against the 300-member Parliament. It is noted that the ratification of the State Budget is a vote of confidence in the government.

The President of the Parliament Kostas Tasoulas announced that the meetings during the five-day debate of the 2024 State Budget lasted a total of 66 hours. 220 MPs, 34 members of the government (23 ministers, 4 alternate ministers and 7 deputy ministers), the 9 general and 15 special rapporteurs of the parties as well as the 9 parliamentary representatives and the leaders of the parties held speeches.

Mitsotakis: We want every day to be better than the previous one

"This is the first budget after 14 years with Greece having acquired the investment grade credit rating," Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said on Sunday in the Parliament during the debate on the ratification of the 2024 State Budget.
"It marks a milestone as this upgrade has been a national goal, a promise I made a year ago. And we did it with the help of a programme based on trust," he underlined.

He pointed out that trust brings trust. "Trust between countries but also trust between the state and citizens, as demonstrated by the last elections," he said referring to the figures that prove the efficiency of the economic policy. More specifically, he referred to the growth rate of 2.4% and the drop of unemployment below 10%, the reduction of public debt, the strengthening of investments and exports, as well as the increase of the average wage over 15%.

"The investment grade for some may mean nothing. But in essence it means a lot because it marks the end of foreign supervision while sending the message that the era of national unreliability has definitively passed," he stressed.

Speaking about the budget, the first of the government's second term, he underlined that he wants to make five clear commitments. "May the country never again find itself in an economic adventure similar to the one it experienced in the last ten years. Never again may the country find itself on the margins, far away from Europe. Every day must be better than the previous one with prudence and realism. In a united society that will converge with Europe in all fields and a strong state that will constantly modernize and win the stakes of the times."

He added: "Finally, I think the investment grade must be considered by everyone as a milestone of national self-awareness. It is a landmark on our path for national maturation which is a prerequisite for the development of every country. It is the driving force of responsible patriotism which will manifest itself everywhere. In a few words, the investment grade is the opportunity to show the best side of ourselves."

Changes in everyday life are a priority for the government

Mitsotakis underlined that "now we have to deal with long-term problems through a bold wave of reforms and a clear timetable of visible projects, with results that will convince that these goals can become reality."

He emphasized that he does not want to embellish the situation, but he is here to counter the opposition's doomsday. "We must shield society against extraordinary difficulties. We need to increase disposable income by reducing inequalities and expanding rights. That is why the changes in our daily life are changes that become a priority for our government, providing decent health, modern education, strong defense and security, a flexible and digital state, but also faster and more effective justice."

"The foundation for all of this can only be a dynamic, outward-looking economy, with clear goals described in the Budget," he stated.

The production model of our country is changing and the sources of public revenue are expanding

Mitsotakis pointed out that Greece is stronger today than it has been for a long time and to support his position he added three more important facts.

"First of all, our country has political stability, with a strong government, a comfortable parliamentary majority and a favorable climate for further investment and higher growth.

Secondly, despite what the leader of PASOK said, our economy is becoming more extroverted. 50% of GDP is made up of exports. It was 20% at the beginning of the financial crisis. These exports are evenly distributed between products and services. The productive model of our country is changing. It is no longer based on only one industry, tourism. And this is good because this way the sources of public revenue are expanded.

And thirdly, apart from the resources of the Cohesion Fund, Greece has at its disposal the 36 billion euros of the Recovery Fund that this government brought to the country."

Greece regained its credibility

"I have said many times that the goal is to turn collective progress into individual prosperity," Mitsotakis emphasized.

"If the numbers and indicators of the budget concern economists, the essence of it concerns every citizen," the prime minister said and presented a diagram of the course of the national bond which, as he said, shows that the investment grade allows us to borrow even cheaper.

He also said that the smaller the state's debt, the lower the pressure to service it, thus freeing up resources for social policy.

"Greece regained its credibility," Mitsotakis underlined.

Higher salaries in our programme

The prime minister emphasized that this budget marks the restructuring of our economy and the transition from the period of crisis to the period of progress, adding that the government's main goal is the convergence with Europe during the current four-year term.'

He also referred to citizens' greatest concern. "And I refer to imported inflation and soaring prices because we have never embellished situations and never claimed that high prices are not the biggest problem facing Greek society today. However, we have a plan in place, which I would like to refer to in a moment.

"I want to repeat that our programme focuses on the stable and sustainable increase in wages," he said while reiterating the pre-election commitment for a minimum wage of 950 and an average wage of 1,500 euros.

"We are exhausting every means at our disposal to support the citizens, especially the most vulnerable," he stressed and added:
"I honestly believe that in terms of inflation we have seen the worst."

Private universities

"I think that the time has finally come to implement a big change that I have many times committed to and talk about the liberalization of higher education with a big double reform. Building on the important changes that have already been made in the public universities, to further liberalize their operation, to make them more extroverted." But as I said, "the time has come to make another reform, to finally introduce the operation of private higher institutions in Greece."

The relevant bill will be presented to the cabinet next week, he noted, adding that it will be put to public consultation immediately after and will become a law of the state in the first month of 2024. "Greece will become a regional pole for the development of education services," the prime minister underlined.


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