Skertsos: 'We are determined to implement the bold but self-evident changes that all previous governments avoided'

Akis Skertsos

The government, in its second term, is determined to implement all the "bold but self-evident changes that all the previous governments avoided carrying out," Minister of State Akis Skertsos said in an interview with AMNA and journalist Nikos Papadimitriou published on Sunday, in which he gave a detailed outline of the government's road map for 2024.

As the minister charged with monitoring government policy and the one who introduced the road map at the last cabinet meeting of 2023, Skertsos unveiled the major issues that the government intends to tackle in the coming year, such as changes in higher education, health and justice, the labour market and digitalisation and waste management.

He also referred to issues relating to high prices versus increases in wages and pensions and stressed that as regards gay marriage "another pledge made by the prime minister, both before and after the elections, was to adopt the strategy for the LGBTQI+ community."

During the interview, Skertsos answered questions about the general situation for Greece and Greek citizens, noting that the year was ending on a relatively optimistic note in spite of a global environment of uncertainty and higher insecurity, largely due to growth rates that were four times those in the rest of Europe.

This would allow wages and pensions to increase for the first time in 14 years, he said, while Greece had manage to remain at the European average for inflation.

He pointed to successive upgrades of the Greek economy by rating agencies, who had restored the country's investment grade rating, noting that this would allow more and better investments in the coming year, leading to more jobs and higher wages.

Skertsos also highlighted the fact that Greece was named country of the year in 2023 by the "Economist", saying that this was not a signal that the country had solved all its problems but one that had "defeated the monster of populism", whose government was moderate and supported reforms and fair, inclusive growth.

"This is the path we intend to follow and this is the path supported by the government's reformist agenda, as approved by the cabinet for the next year, with a very ambitious plan with numerous public investments and many reforms that make our country more productive, more social, fairer, greener, more digital and, in short, stronger for everyone," Skertsos said.

The minister then spoke about the policy road map that he presented to the cabinet, stressing its significance as a means of ensuring "that the country is not operating on autopilot but acting on the basis of a plan" in an uncertain and troubled environment.

He said the goal was convergence with Europe and improving a series of indicators where Greece has long lagged behind, including an end to the state monopoly on higher education and improving the quality of public universities.

Another goal was to speed up the delivery of justice, as getting a court ruling in Greece took four times longer than the EU average. He noted that this was not only an obstacle to the rule of law and social fairness but also a competitive disadvantage for the economy.

Regarding the labour market, he said the government aimed to improve employment of young people, women and keep older workers in the labour pool, increasing the number of working hands, as well as combatting undeclared labour.

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