Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during parliamentary debate defended his government’s economic accomplishments and insisted that Greece will have a “clean exit” from the memorandum when the bailout programme ends.
Addressing New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who requested the debate on the economy, Tsipras noted that, “to your chagrin, the country is exiting the programme definitively and irrevocably”. “You precoccupied yourself with how to undermine the country and how to confront the next government with economic suffocation”.
Tsipras underlined the latest positive developments in the economy and compared the state of the country today with how it was when SYRIZA took power. He said that unemployment was at 28 percent (60 percent for youth), and that New Democracy had agreed to a 4.5 percent primary surplus which it never implemented.
He said that the attempted return to the markets in 2014 was a “catastrophe”, because there was no debt relief arrangement and no substantial reforms.
Turning to his own government, Tsipras said that it turned things around, that unemployment dropped by seven percentage points, and that 350,000 new job were created.
“All the fiscal targets for each year of the third programme were overreached by far. This occurred without a fresh round of unbearable budget cuts for the social majority. After nearly a decade, Greece again has a positive growth rate,” Tsipras said.
“Greece had a growth rate of 1.5 percent in 2017, and in the first quarter of 2018 it was 2.3 percent, about six times the average in the EU,” the PM said, asserting that Greek bonds are breaking one record after another, and are now at the level of 2006, before the crisis started.
Mitsotakis lashes out
New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis offered withering criticism of the PM, repeatedly and angrily calling him a liar, as he had not informed the Greek people of all the onerous measures that he would take in the third memorandum – such as high primary surplusus and pension cuts – and in the new, updated medium term programme.
Mitsotakis tabled a draft law that would abolish the pension cuts, saying that ND would vote for the bill, thus putting the SYRIZA-Independent Greeks government on the spot, as the pension cuts were an integral part of the preconditions for completing the last bailout memorandum.
Movement for Change leader Fofi Genimata tabled a similar draft law.
Mitsotakis also ripped into the PM over the recent Greece-FYROM accord, which he denounced because it recognised the existence of a “Macedonian” language and nationality.
The New Democracy leader declared that Tsipras played the role of the revolutionary who would help change Europe, and instead ended up as the “errand boy” of the EU.