Mitsotakis: No clean exit from memoranda, as new measures will stretch into 2020

Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis unleashed a personal attack on Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in his address in the plenary session in Parliament, on the last day of the draft state budget discussion on Tuesday evening.

Calling Tsipras “a liar without any ideology”, Mitsotakis cast doubt on the government’s claims that Greece would complete the bailout program in August 2018 without additional measures: “There will be no clean exit from the memoranda, as new measures are expected to be applied as far as the year 2020, and there will be tough supervision” from the country’s creditors, that include the EU, the European Central Bank and the IMF.

The ND leader also cast doubt on the economy’s performance. “The government claims the economy is overperforming and cites the primary surplus. It’s a lie. After two years, the Greek economy has a weak rate of growth that lies below its potential, while the rest of the EU has entered high growth rates. What there definitely is, is overtaxation,” he said.

Citing the government’s primary surplus targets, he said, “Could a genius from the economic advisors of the government explain to me why we need exaggerated fiscal surpluses? There is only one explanation: you want the surpluses so you can distribute some bonuses.” The surplus comes from overtaxation, the reduction of investment expenditures, a stop-payment of the government’s debts to the private sector, and from the daily seizure of citizens’ bank accounts, he asserted.

The government, the main opposition leader said, has put the country into a fourth memorandum, by applying measures worth 5.1 billion euros. Cyprus and Ireland did not implement more measures when they completed their bailout programs, he said, while the EU has begun using the term “hybrid exit” in the case of Greece.

Among other things, Mitsotakis charged the government with “imposing 27 new taxes, and 21 pension cutbacks,” harming economically weaker Greeks. “Two million Greeks will lose their medical deductions, three million will lose the deduction at source, and family bonuses are cut. The indirect taxes – the most unjust of all taxes – have increased in the last three years. The worst is ahead of you, the reduction of pensions and the reduction in the deductible is before you – that’s the fourth memorandum,” he told Tsipras.

“We missed a unique opportunity in Greece the last three years. This is not called ‘success’. The investment target was 9.1 pct and it has stood at 5.1 pct,” Mitsotakis said, charging the government with losing its standing in the OECD rankings and forcing companies to shut down or transfer of their base of operation abroad. Investments will not come to Greece “either from your ideological obsession or from your lack of ability,” he concluded.