ND leader Mitsotakis: Gov’t maintains conflicting policies on FYROM name issue

The government has not clarified its stance on the FYROM name issue and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is acting as a party leader instead of a ruling coalition leader, main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis told foreign correspondents in Athens on Thursday.

In strong criticism against the government, Mitsotakis said the government had a policy on the name issue negotiations that conflicted with that of Minister of Defence Panos Kammenos, head of the ruling coalition’s junior party.

The ND leader reiterated that if an agreement between Greece and FYROM is tabled in Parliament without obliging FYROM to amend its constitution so it removes any sense of irredentism, his party will object to it.

Speaking of the rising Turkish aggression, he said that public discourse on the possibility of an incident between the two countries does not serve national interest, and that the de-escalation of tension should begin from Turkey with a good-will gesture such as releasing the two detained Greek servicemen it is holding for trespassing.

Mitsotakis was particularly critical of Kammenos, who he said is holding his own line on foreign policy issues and cannot be controlled by the prime minister, at a great cost for the country. “There is no unified center for foreign policy, at this point,” he said, as “the Ministry of Defence maintains one line, and Maximos Mansion (government headquarters) another. Foreign policy is being conducted by use of non-papers, ridiculous things. Our country does not present the image of a serious country.”

In terms of ND’s plan for rule, Mitsotakis said that job creation through foreign investments is a priority. One of the issues he would discuss with creditors is the very strict fiscal restrictions Tsipras’ government has imposed on Greece, such as the primary surplus of 3.5%. Referring to securing liquidity from international markets, he said, “I don’t have any indication that markets today trust this government to scale down interest rates to the point that the country may borrow at a logical cost,” he said.

The ND leader also dismissed rumors that his party, once in power, would lay off civil servants. “I want to be clear, once again: In our plans there are no civil servant layoffs. There is evaluation of civil servants, and a substantial restructuring of public administration so that the public sector operates on a smaller scale,” he said.