“The government implementing all measures announced at TIF,” FinMin Tsakalotos says

epa05271960 Greek Finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos prior to the meeting of the Eurozone Finance Ministers at the Scheepvaartmuseum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 22 April 2016. Eurozone ministers met to discuss the Greek bailout and the Panama Papers fallout. EPA/BART MAAT

The Greek people need to receive information about the economic, political and social situation in Greece through valid arguments and not fake news, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said during a press conference that took place in Drama, in the context of his eastern Macedonia tour.

Talking about the extent to which SYRIZA has implemented the programme that got it into office, Tsakalotos said that two national elections took place in 2015, one in January and one in September. “We never tried to hide the fact that in the summer of 2015 we had to make a compromise; and in a comprise, there’s always something gained and something lost.”

He went on to say that the government is “well aware of the hardships endured by large parts of the population” and asserted that SYRIZA is taking initiaves towards a gradual ease of the burden. Furthermore, he stressed that all measures the prime minister announced during the Thessaloniki International Fair in 2018 have already been implemented, with the exception of the housing benefit, the platform for which is due to open next week.

Replying to a question asked by the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) about the government’s ongoing negotiations with the banks on the issue of the non-performing loans and about New Democracy’s (ND) doubts that the measures will actually benefit the people, Tsakalotos said: “ND believes that nothing good ever happens in this country, no matter what the policy. This, however, is not the actual picture.” He then affirmed that the government is taking a great many initiatives concerning the so-called red loans, which, as he said, the banks need to deal with “so as to be able to fund households and businesses.”

Finally, talking about large-scale investments, Tsakalotos noted that the government has already set the groundwork for many large projects but stressed that SYRIZA is also prioritising small and medium-size businesses. “We are a country with a large number of small and medium-sized businesses and this is why we are supporting them with the NSRF. This is why, in March, we are going to bring a draft bill for the creation of a development bank and for microfinancing.”