Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said the Left has a “historic duty” to help the country exit the crisis while keeping society alive, as he opened the second four-day conference of his party, SYRIZA, on Thursday night.
“Three years after SYRIZA’s founding conference we prove that there’s a Left that doesn’t hesitate to take on its historic duty. To carry on its shoulders the responsibility for an exit from the crisis, with society standing on its feet. We have an obligation not to abandon this fight. We have to win this fight. It’s a historic duty. And we will win it,” Tsipras said in his speech at the Tae Kwon Do stadium in southern Athens.
He said the globalized economy forces the country to fight step by step for a change in politics both in Greece and Europe. “We work hard for a realistic road map for the recovery of the economy, so that we can exit from the clamp of guardianship,” he said.
Tsipras said the second program review will conclude in time and will be less difficult than the first one. “At the same time, the measures for debt relief will be set. At the same time, we’ll be included in quantitative easing. There’s no ‘we’ll see’,” he said.
Tsipras made an overview of the last year, saying an exit from the euro “was not and is not a progressive plan”. He said SYRIZA’s criticism of the way Greece entered the Eurozone was just but “an exit, especially after five years of plundering of a quarter of our national wealth … would mean an additional and immediate plundering”, while poorer social classes would lose their bank deposits.
Commenting on the first program review, the prime minister said it was completed essentially last May, but ended formally on Tuesday, and now it was Greece’s lenders’ turn to keep their part of the deal and offer debt relief.
“The July agreement is clear. And as we keep it defying the cost, we also expect and demand our partners to respect it too. Pacta sunt servanda, as our friends in Berlin and Brussels would say.”
He said the government will enter negotiations over the second program review with the most powerful and non-negotiable weapon, which is the European acquis, noting that it aims to support employment and restore collective labour agreements.
Speaking on the TV licensing tender, he said the government made it real “after 27 years of willful lawlessness” adding that the auctioning off of four broadcasting licenses constitutes a significant milestone for the country’s political system.
“For the first time it sets the conditions to smash the interwoven interests that afflicted the country for many years and constitutes one of the main reasons behind the crisis and the bankruptcy,” Tsipras told party members, adding however that the battle against corruption and the old political and media status quo will not be simple and easy.
Turning his attention to the government’s aims, he said it will continue to fight large and medium-scale tax evasion, which he said has led to a “permanent hemorrhage for the Greek economy, led to huge inequalities and played a very crucial role in the intensity of the crisis in the country”.
Tsipras said the government also wants to rebuild the social state which was destroyed by the previous governments and not just in the period 2010-2014.
Looking into the future, the leader of SYRIZA said the government is forming a five-year program of economic and social restructuring which will complete in 2011. “Until then, we aspire to have achieved a series of specific and measurable redistribution, development and social protection objectives, so that by the end of the five years we will have succeeded in reducing unemployment in our country by at least 10 points,” he said.
Earlier, Alexis Tsipras said in a tweet ahead of the event that SYRIZA’s second conference opening on Thursday evening will lay the foundations for a big social transformation. .
“Today we open SYRIZA’s second conference with optimism against those who proclaim the necessity of obedience. We set the foundations for a great social transformation, for the Greece of 2021” he said.
All opposition parties have been invited to welcome the opening of the conference, except Golden Dawn. Representatives from New Democracy, PASOK, DIMAR, Potami and the Centrists’ Union will attend and make a short speech, while the Communist Party and Popular Unity rejected the invitation. ANEL leader Panos Kammenos will also speak at the event.