Main opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis launched a full frontal assault on Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during his address to lawmakers in Parliament on Sunday, while dismissing the proposed measures in the draft tax and pension reforms bill as bound to fail.
“In this country it has now become a historic necessity to speak the language of truth,” he said and noted that the country was now being asked to take additional measures by its creditors as a “premier’s personal unreliability clause”.
“There are lies, damned lies and Mr. Tsipras,” he said, paraphrasing Mark Twain, citing the prime minister’s earlier promises and accused the Labour and Social Insurance Minister George Katrougalos of “amoralism of the worst kind,” noting that he had in the past gone to court over measures that he was now proposing.
“The measures we are voting on today are the bill for your delays, ineptitude and unreliability…at the end of 2014 there was no demand to reduce main pensions, only supplementary pensions,” he said.
He criticised the proposed measures, saying they relied too heavily on taxation and would not allow a return to growth, while noting that the pension system reforms did not touch the so-called “aristocratic funds” that burdened the system, calling for a reduction in spending.
Greece needed a reduction of taxation and a reduction of state spending, Mitsotakis said, whereas the government’s bill increased taxes and contributions, leading to an inevitable increase of tax evasion and contribution evasion.
“This bill is the epitome of you ineptitude…it took you nine months to deliver this mess,” he added, noting that the proposed measures cut pensions of those retiring from now on, “wiped out” the self-employed, mocked farmers and reduced the real income of all workers, as well as their tax-free allowance. “Will this, perhaps, be the last intervention? Unfortunately, the precise opposite is true. It is certain that the citizens’ sacrifices will be for naught,” he said.
According to Mitsotakis, there was another way and hope, “a way of truth, an agreement of truth that addresses the biggest problem in relations between politicians and society, which is a problem of trustworthiness. The country must create wealth and not redistribute poverty.”
The fiscal policy mix chosen by the government would not achieve this and the precautionary measures demanded by the creditors would be made mandatory, he added.
“Unfortunately, the creditors are also responsible for this development because they have accepted a package of tax raids that they know will not bring a result and demanding additional measures, so that the total of measures reaches 12 billion,” he said, promising that ND will reduce taxes and repeating his demand for elections.