Achtsioglou: Our goals are more jobs, better pay, fairer taxes and a more efficient state

The goals of SYRIZA’s policy are new jobs with higher pay, fairer taxation and a more efficient state in order to bring about “growth that includes everyone and security in society,” Labour Minister Effie Achtsioglou said in an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency released on Sunday.

She said the government was seeking a renewal of the people’s mandate in order to continue on this path and complete the journey to a reordering of society and to “not turn back to the policies of austerity and social compression”.

“We are asking for the citizens’ vote in order to defend the entitlements they have won but also to continue on a course of healing the hurts of the crisis and improving the daily life of the many,” she said, noting that the government’s actions were the “greatest guarantee of reliability for our programme.”

Achtsioglou went on to attack the leadership of main opposition New Democracy and the stance adopted by ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis toward the positive, expansionary measures adopted by the government, and his decision to dismiss them as handouts and pre-election promises to win votes, noting that “this was an excellent excuse for cuts aligned with the estimates and positions of conservative circles in the EU.”

“Even though the memorandum cycle is permanently over for the country, the memorandum ‘agenda’ of austerity policies (wage cuts, personnel cuts in schools and hospitals, pension cuts, price hikes on basic goods like medication) will return with an ND government, as is apparent from its programme and the statements of its president,” she said.

Concerning the issue of a televised debate between the political party leaders ahead of the elections, Achtsioglou expressed her belief that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will participate in a debate with all the party leaders, noting that such a debate “will be especially useful and interesting”.

“I do not think, however, that Mr. Mitsotakis can hide behind this established and wholly useful process in order to avoid a debate with the prime minister,” she added.

The minister also commented on the Athens Pride parade the previous day, welcoming the attendance of thousands of young people.