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Tsipras at TIF Event: Rebuilding a Strong Social State

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Alexis Tsipras speaks during the SYRIZA party's Central Committee on Sunday morning. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Tatiana Bollari)

THESSALONIKI -- Managing the repercussions of the novel coronavirus pandmeic requires support of the public sector and key government interventions in the economy towards a future of development, SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance leader Alexis Tsipras said in Thessaloniki on Saturday.

During a meeting with the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF)-Helexpo managers and employees, the main opposition leader said that "the pandemic is changing people's perception of public space, and the relationship of private/public." Strong public hospitals, public schools and a state with a powerful role are necessary, he said explaining that "even the wealthier of Greeks turned to public hospitals to find help during the pandemic."

The social and behavioral changes introduced by the pandemic must lead to thinking about the future in a different way, Tsipras said. "We must rebuild things, and go in a better direction than that we left behind; changes that will happen should correct bad practices of the past and not lead to a new foul cycle - this is the critical point, now."

Commenting on how strange it will be to speak at a limited audience of 50 people at TIF since the annual trade expo has been cancelled, he also criticized the government for its unilateral decision to cancel, which led to millions of euros in losses for both TIF and Thessaloniki. He also welcomed the idea of establishing the current political forum at TIF as an annual tradition.

Tsipras was given a tour of the premises, whose refurbishing began he said under his government.

At 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, the main opposition leader is scheduled to give a policy speech at the I. Vellidis Center, while on Sunday (1:00 p.m.) he is expected to give a press conference in the context of TIF at the same venue.

According to reports, Tsipras is expected to reveal a package of 10 specific and immediate measures to help the economy, workers and SMEs, as well as the buttressing of the social state. In this new social agreement, as he calls it, security and justice will play a key role and will affect all social groups hit the hardest by the economic and health crisis and by the government's policies.

He is expected to criticize the government on its "lack of plan and strategy, which has led the country to the brink of destruction socially, health-wise, economically and to face great national challenges."

Disparaging what he called the government's "inertia and delays, with dramatic repercussions" particularly for vulnerable social groups, he is expected to focus on a new production model and "a new, guiding and leading role of government in the economy, health, education, infrastructure and the financial system that should at last play its required role in the economic cycle."