By Alexis Tsipras
The Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) is, without a doubt, the most important entrepreneurial event of the year. The 83d TIF, however, is much more than that. It is an event of historic importance because our country lives historic moments.
Eight years of recession policies and austerity have come to an end. Greece, with a steady pace, with determination and planning, has managed to recover in these past few years.
Fiscal stability has been achieved recording after 2015 constant overachievements regarding the countries primary surplus.
The Greek economy is growing again. Last year’s growth rate was only the beginning, since the projected growth for 2018 is over 2%.
The main financial indicators – exports, manufacturing, and industry – show significant improvement, while foreign direct investments are expected to exceed last year’s record breaking size.
Moreover, and most importantly, unemployment, which reached 27% three and a half years ago, today is around 20% with a steady tendency of further decrease.
Now is the time to invest in our country’s potential.
To capitalize on this positive momentum, to build the future upon solid foundations.
At the center of this effort lies our new production model.
Greece is a country with ample potential, but this potential has, unfortunately, been trapped in an unprincipled, short-sighted production model that has, consistently over time, solely served the goals of a state-funded entrepreneurial elite.
Today the time has come to set the productive forces free. To organize production by strengthening our comparative advantages and, of course, by giving the chance to those who are our most precious asset to take center stage in this new age.
I refer to the young men and women of our country. A generation equipped with knowledge, skills and a strong work ethic: characteristics that will become structural ingredients of the new production model that we envisage.
A production model that aims at openness and added value, encouraging innovation, ingenuity and new ideas.
The 83rd TIF, as a starting point of such innovative attempts, symbolizes this new beginning for the economy and the country as a whole.
Within this framework, it is an aim of strategic importance to strengthen our cooperation with the world leader in the sector of innovation and new technologies, the United States of America, the honored country of this year’s TIF that, with the presence of US Trade Secretary Wilbur Ross, sends a strong signal of support and trust in the Greek economy.
*** Prime Minister Alexi Tsipras’ article in the ANA free press magazine “Praktoreio”