PM Tsipras: Economic growth will either be fair, or there will be none at all

It is important for economic growth to affect people’s daily life and not just exist in numbers, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Wednesday, speaking at the Development Conference of Thessaly, where he presented the government’s plan to develop the region.

“The crucial issue is that growth will not just exist in the numbers but will affect the everyday lives of citizens. We want growth to be fair. [Economic] growth will either be fair or there will be none at all,” he said.

Commenting on the economy, he said that the current year will end with higher growth, and that the International Monetary fund (IMF) is forecasting a 2.65 percent growth for 2018, adding he believed it will be higher.

Tsipras said the three-pronged strategy to develop industry is based on “integrated value chains-extroversion-environmental sustainability”.

“We plan to strengthen the healthier, dynamic and productive elements of Greek entrepreneurship in Thessaly and the rest of the country. Thessaly constitutes the pillar of Greece’s growth potential,” he said.

Tsipras said the question is not to support the primary sector or any other specific sector against the other, but to create products with higher added value, he continued. “Contrary to the past, our strategic choice in the implementation of the new Rural Development Program is cooperation with the periphery.”

All programs requiring EU or State funds will be carefully examined to make sure it has a multiplying effect for the economy and society.

He then turned to the structural weaknesses of the primary sector, saying they were the result of a specific past policies, which wasted the considerable resources that were directed to the agricultural sector by the European funds.

To change this trend, he said the government is committed to promoting concrete measures which include:

-The renewal of the rural population, through the support of young farmers

-The re-starting for farmers’ collective cooperative schemes, producer organizations

-Placing importance on the quality of Greek products and securing national and local certification

-Regulation and rationalization of the agricultural product market and consumer protection
-Measures and actions against the illicit trafficking of agricultural products, the illegal changes in labels to present products as Greek, illegal imports and concerted practices in each sector

-Improving the marketing of agricultural products, aiming at maximizing exports and managing export distribution networks.

Tsipras then spoke about tourism, noting 2017 will be another good year for the sector.

“Our aim is for tourism development to be in harmony with the environment, to operate in a scale that does not disturb the overall life and productive function of the area, to work along with other productive activities and to connect with them,” he said.

The prime minister described this effort as “national”, saying it should embrace all the productive, vibrant, innovative forces of the country.

“I want to be clear that for us development does not mean leveling labor relations or abolishing collective agreements, nor does it mean dissolving the welfare state. We know that the countries that lead in growth policies are those that focus on planning, transparency, but also on high-level training, on fairly-paid work, distribution of earnings to the whole society, expansion of freedoms and rights, respect for the environment, culture and learning,” he said.