Tsipras says government is planning the next day for Greece

The government is planning the next day for Greece as the economy is returning to growth, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Tuesday, speaking at the 9th Regional Conference on the Productive Reconstruction of Western Greece, held in Patras.

“We have a common aim – to make the country stand on its feet again, to seek together the new day for Greece,” he said. “Today is the right time to plan the next day, not just because the omens are excellent, but because all the data are positive, encouraging and optimistic.”

Speaking to local officials and government ministers, he said unemployment is falling, people “are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel”, the country is “regaining the international position it deserves” and the trust of the markets in Greece is returning.

“I can safely say today that the worst is now behind us,” he said, adding that the path ahead has been opened with many sacrifices, compromises, conflict, controversies and tough negotiations “that lead to a much better future”.

Tsipras said, in the future, Greeks can look forward to a more “balanced relationship” with the State, a gradual reduction of taxes, an increase in wages and pensions, the restoration of the labor rights and an increase in investments which we expect to accelerate in the coming period.

The prime minister commented indirectly on recent political developments, noting that the country today needs a “modern, decisive and unwavering patriotism” which does not translate to “inflammatory rhetoric”, but responds to these difficult times “with terms of daily virtue”, adding that “there can never be a patriotism of Panama Papers, of offshore companies, of bribes, of vested interests, of deception and […] corruption.”

He said it is “criminal and hypocritical” for politicians to “engage in a patriotism contest”, when their names are found on lists of tax evasion, or to accuse authorities of political persecution because their names showed up in criminal cases.

Turning his attention to regional issues, Tsipras said the four concession agreements to explore and exploit hydrocarbons in the maritime areas of western Greece will offer a new impetus for development in the region.

Concerning natural gas, he said the Public Gas Distribution Company for the Rest of Greece (DEDA) will submit very soon a plan to develop distribution networks in a number of towns in the region, among which Patras, Agrinio and Pyrgos.