Greece's Renewed Hope: Prime Minister Mitsotakis Outlines ND's Vision for Europe and Beyond

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In a speech wrapping up the 15th Congress of the ruling New Democracy party on Sunday, Prime Minister and ND President Kyriakos Mitsotakis emphasized that its conclusion provided grounds for increased optimism and signaled "renewed hope for Greece and new hope for Europe." He predicted that the European People's Party (EPP) would emerge victorious once again in the European elections on June 9, while the 15th Congress had highlighted the significant contributions made by ND over the past decades.

New Democracy has been the "responsible and reliable force that is prepared to address the new challenges," he stated, emphasizing the importance of "fostering cohesion among the societies of all European peoples as a challenge to and a response to populism."

Mitsotakis stressed that populism, in both its far-right and far-left forms, posed the greatest threat to European countries: "Populist demagogues seek to create artificial divisions, which, as Ursula [von der Leyen] noted, has cost Greece dearly in the past. We will never allow the events of the past decade to repeat themselves. Economic recovery in Greece was delayed due to populism, which prevented the nation from coming together. Syntagma Square is not far from here. We recall the two extremes of deception uniting in anti-European, supposedly anti-establishment demonstrations."

Greece has transformed from an economic laggard to a leader in economic growth:

"We must ensure the competitiveness of our continent. I have been a staunch advocate for a eurobond that would protect Europe as a whole. To those who claim such measures are unrealistic, I remind them that they said the same in 2020, but we ultimately persuaded them and established the Recovery Fund," stated Mitsotakis.

The upcoming European elections in June are critical, he added, stressing that elected MEPs must possess "a European mindset and a national voice" and that "the opposition may hope, but we will not gratify them."

He further emphasized Greece's unwavering support for Cyprus in finding a just resolution to the Cyprus issue, noting that this "50-year tragedy" must come to an end, as the grim anniversary of Turkish invasion and occupation approaches. "The stronger Greece is within Europe, the stronger Hellenism will be in Europe, and the stronger Cyprus will be in Europe. Greece and Cyprus are one," he declared.

The prime minister also addressed Greece's transformation from an economic laggard to a leader in economic growth, evidenced by increased investment, decreased unemployment, eased public debt, and higher wages and pensions.

"We are narrowing the gap with Europe, and we aim to close it completely. The EU supports us in this endeavor," said Mitsotakis, while accusing opposition parties of obstructing this progress and "polluting political dialogue with negativity."

"I have never downplayed the challenges. I was the first to take responsibility. Despite these difficulties, our path remains one of steady progress. The electoral campaign cannot be a platform for deception. Nor is there room for the exploitation of suffering, as we have witnessed with the national tragedy at Tempi. As if some Greeks are more deeply affected by this tragedy than others. We must reject division at the polls," he concluded.

Mitsotakis acknowledged that the battle against deeply entrenched problems "sometimes seems insurmountable," with results assessed within the "limited timeframe of electoral cycles" and the opposition continuously undermining the government's efforts. He reiterated that the government is doing everything in its power to address high prices, bolster the Armed Forces, modernize hospitals, advance education and the operations of non-state and non-profit universities, and establish a public sector that truly serves its citizens.

According to Mitsotakis, the 15th Congress was an opportunity for learning and planning for the future. ND remained true to its founding principles and established itself as the voice of a majority movement, which sustained the party through the challenging years of the crisis and united the forces that led to electoral victories in 2019 and 2023.

"Citizens who voted for us noticed something, particularly in disadvantaged working-class neighborhoods… ND demonstrated itself to be the most resilient political force since the fall of the dictatorship," said Mitsotakis, adding that "the national interest has always been our guiding star."

In closing, he stated that a vote for ND in the upcoming European elections represented a vote for national stability and progress and a "yes" to a better Europe. The outcomes of the 15th Congress reached beyond its conclusions, he explained, as they would be reflected in ND's positions on Europe's future and its demands in Brussels going forward, "impelling us to ensure that Greece reaps the rewards it deserves by 2027."

"Beyond the titles and names on our electoral roster is my own name, which empowers me to make demands and appear more forcefully at the European Council. I will require this strength at subsequent European Council meetings," he said, expressing his aspiration to "remain in Europe under Ursula von der Leyen's leadership as European Commission President for another five years." Mitsotakis announced that the names of the ND candidate MEPs would be revealed on the following Monday.

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024