New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis opened his keynote speech at the 82nd Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) on Saturday night saying “Greeks deserve better”.
“Greeks do not deserve to live in misery and pay for the lies and delusions of the sorcerer’s apprentice,” he said told the MPs, local officials and people attending the speech at the “I. Vellidis” conference center.
He summoned up his criticism on the government saying “they don’t want to, they don’t know [how] and they cannot” make any reforms, adding Greece cannot be a poor copy of a Latin American democracy.
It is difficult for Greece to implement the targets for primary surplus which the government has agreed to with the institutions, he said, noting that the fiscal policy mix can change. “I will succeed in convincing our partners that it is also in their own interest [to change the policy mix] because we are serious and trustworthy,” he said.
Mitsotakis clarified he will implement the country’s commitment, adding however that he cannot accept the tax raid on citizens. He pledged to drastically simplify tax laws, provide a stable tax law for five years and cut the unified property tax ENFIA by 30 percent in the first two years of his government.
Mitsotakis clarified that the implementation of privatizations and emblematic investments such as the one in Athens’ old airport, Hellinikon, and Canadian miner Eldorado’s project in Skouries is “an absolute priority”.
“We want a frugal and efficient state,” he continued noting that only New Democracy can implement the necessary reforms of the state. He promised to grant more public functions to the private sector and deliver a digital revolution of transparency, along with a new identity card for every citizen with the ability to use a digital signature.
“When I talk about the necessary reforms, I have people on my mind. I don’t have the GDP numbers on my mind when I talk about growth,” he said.
Concerning the Greek banking system, he said he wants to make it more operational so it can finance entrepreneurship adding he will propose measures to tackle private debt, in compliance with the law.
At the same time, he said he will distribute fairly any “prosperity dividend” among the people, adding that his priority is to support social groups.
He then spoke of his proposed reform of labour laws, saying “he will not tolerate any violation” and pledged to stop trade unionists and the manipulation of trade unions. On the issue of strikes, he said that a majority of 50+1 votes from union members will be required to call it. “Law and order will be restored,” he said.
On the situation in tertiary education, Mitsotakis pledged to remove the leaders of student groups from universities adding that his aim is to create the best universities in southern Europe within a decade. He also reiterated his support for the creation of private universities.
He described the country’s demographic problem as a “time bomb in the nation’s foundations” and noted the need to produce measures that support families.
“My concern is to ensure a better tomorrow for the new generation,” he said. “I envision a prosperous country with progress and dignity.”