Two conflicting policies for economic normality will clash at TIF, Tzanakopoulos says

The prime minister’s message at his speech in Thessaloniki will focus on the plans for exploiting the current positive momentum during the strong recovery phase of the Greek economy, Minister of State and government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said in an interview with the newspaper “Epochi” published on Sunday.

Tzanakopoulos said that two conflicting political plans will be presented at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) on how the emerging return to “economic normality” should be managed: one calling for “terms of redistribution, social state and protection of labour relations” and a second “benefiting the local business oligarchy”.

Tzanakopoulos said the two major political milestones next week are the upcoming visit by French President Emanuel Macron and the prime minister’s annual speech on the economy, traditionally given at the TIF each year.

“We are at a phase when a political plan for equitable growth must be implemented, creating the conditions for the benefits to be distributed as fairly as possible,” he said. In order for this to happen, there had to be serious planning giving priority to investment plans that also sought to make optimal use of state financing tools, restore labour relations and build a new social state, the
spokesman said.

The government’s ability to lead the country out of the crisis will be judged in these three areas, he added.

While admitting that many were still struggling, Tzanakopoulos also asserted that the improvements in the indices were reflected in real life and pointed to lower unemployment figures and rising private consumption.

Regarding the third review of Greece’s programme, Tzanakopoulos said this was starting against a “positive backdrop” since Greece was set to meet or exceed economic targets in 2017, though he could not guarantee what stance would be adopted by Greece’s EU partners. Regarding the IMF, he expressed hope that it would be “constructive” and allow a swift conclusion of the third review.

“That is the government’s goal and the declared goal of the Europeans, so that we can move on to the final phase of the programme and exit the stage of harsh supervision and memoranda in August 2018,” he said.

Commenting on current efforts in Greece to “consolidate” the forces of the centre-left, he noted that the centre-left forces in Greece, rather than establishing open communication lines with SYRIZA, had instead opted “not just for a strategic alignment with neoliberalism but an alignment of a political nature with the forces of the right.”

At the core of SYRIZA’s policy and the main dividing line with main opposition New Democracy, he added, was a focus on labour relations and restoring labour rights.