ND leader Mitsotakis at Delphi Forum: Greece’s biggest problem is political and institutional

Greece’s number one priority has to be investments and jobs, main opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said at the Delphi Economic Forum on Thursday.

The present government is overtaxing the producing sector to focus on subsidies and handouts, but he supports an investment-driven growth in sectors where Greece excels, the New Democracy leader said in a discussion with Financial Times journalist Martin Wolf.

In terms of the debt, Mitsotakis said that Greece needs more fiscal space to break out of a vicious cycle, but the fear in EU is that the fiscal space will be used to further enlarge the public sector, whereas he will use it to reduce taxes.

Greece’s biggest problem is political and institutional, Mitsotakis said. If the institutional performance does not improve, Greece will be underperforming in the future.

“All populist governments, whether right or left, use the same playbook,” Mitsotakis said, with a three-prong approach: controlling the media, intervening in justice, and going after political opponents.

“The level of intervention we have seen in justice is unacceptable and undermines the core of democracy,” he said. One of the ways of changing this is observing absolute meritocracy in staffing the government, and introducing legislation outlining in detail the role of the PM’s office, how to conduct policy with ministers, and what the role of the PM is. This would also require “a very bold constitutional amendment change”, he added, as the Greek constitution “has outlived its utility.”