Addressing a meeting of the cabinet on Monday, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he had convened the meeting to discuss a number of issues at an extremely critical time for Greece, “with historical characteristics requiring vigilance and clear targeting.”
Tsipras explained that the country is heading towards the end of a hard period, which started in spring 2010 and will end in a year from now, with the conclusion of the third programme in August 2018.
The end of this period is the result of a strenuous effort, persistent negotiation, with absolute respect for the sacrifices of the Greek people, the prime minister stressed, as well as the “result of the mandate given to us by the citizens at the 2015 elections.”
He noted that exiting the memoranda was not just a calendar milestone but a process of transition from a state of economic crisis to dynamic growth, a reorganisation of production, job recovery and the foundation of a strong social state. He stressed that the steps taken in this direction are significant and that the country has returned to positive growth rates.
Referring to the economy and investments, Tsipras stressed that “we are working to make the most of this positive momentum for the Greek economy.”
Tsipras asked ministers to ensure that the greater part of the prior actions included in the third review of the current programme were implemented by November, so as not to provide anyone with a pretext for delaying the process.
The prime minister emphasised that the government’s main goal was to gradually bring about changes to the real picture presented by society, over and above that presented by economic indicators. “In order to succeed in bringing about this change, we must avoid those factors that delay or undermine it,” he added, noting that the real issues at stake for the Greek economy related to strengthening its growth potential rather than imposing further fiscal constraints.
Tsipras stressed that the government must show determination to conclude the third programme review as soon as possible.
“It is clear that the country is changing direction and orientation,” Tsipras said, while commenting that some did not welcome this change because it clashed with their political aspirations, plans and ideology.
“But as the crisis passes, the masks are falling away,” he stated, underlining that the measures that formed the core of the memorandum programmes were officially the policy platform of main opposition New Democracy and always had been.