“The historic cycle of memoranda and harsh supervision is coming to an end,” government Vice President Yiannis Dragasakis said, delivering the opening speech at a two-day conference on the development of Eastern Macedonia-Thrace in Komotini on Monday.
“Both the negotiations with the creditors and developments in the real economy indicate that the conditions for passing to the post-memorandum phase are present,” he added.
Dragasakis also warned, however, this was not the time to get complacent. The responsibility borne by the government and political system was now even greater, he added, since they must ensure that the end of the memorandums was final and “clean”, without additional prior actions demanded of Greece, and also plan this post-memorandum era, with the reconstruction of the country’s production model.
“Growth of the existing economy is not enough; our target must be to shape a new model for equitable and sustainable growth, on the basis of which we will strive for an improved position for our economy in the world distribution of labour, which in our time is changing in a subversive way. We must create a fair society with solidarity and citizens that are equal,” he said.
The crisis in Greece was not just a fiscal but a deeper crisis of the country’s model of production and the system of power this supported, which had set up a form of “parasitic capitalism,” Dragasakis noted. The solution to this could not, therefore, be entrusted to out-moded neoliberalism and the markets, nor be based on the “rubble” left by the demolition of labour relations. Any growth that emerged this way would be unsustainable and disastrous for both society and the environment, Dragasakis predicted.
He called for a growth model that did not allow the deindustrialisation and shrinking of primary production to continue but acted to reverse these trends.
“It is significant that such reversing trends are already in motion and growing stronger. More specifically, we must double the share of manufacturing in GDP from 8-9 pct today to first 15 pct and then 20 pct. At the same time, we must linke the primary sector with manufacturing and both sectors to tourism, so that a large part of tourism consumption is covered by domestically-produced products,” Dragasakis said.
Those who considered that industry was no longer important were mistaken, he emphasised, noting that it was now entering a new phase with new materials, new technologies and new production methods that many were calling a 4th industrial revolution. Many countries, such as Germany, France and Spain, were already working on plans for exploiting these new developments.
Regarding Eastern Macedonia-Thrace, Dragasakis said the region was in the process of intense change, in which it was radically altering its position in the developmental map of Greece and Europe.