Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis acknowledges applause from his lawmakers during a parliament session for the budget of 2023, in Athens, on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022. The vote on the 2023 budget, the first in thirteen years not to be drafted under the surveillance of Greece's creditors, will conclude five days of debate. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)
ATHENS – “The Finance Minister answered comprehensively quoting figures and making a comparison between the four-year term of SYRIZA and the four-year term of New Democracy. If I did what you asked me to do and you constantly ask me to do, that is to call elections, this parliamentary confrontation would be our last one. You spoke for a total of 65 minutes and you spent only three minutes on telling us what you would do if the Greek people finally trusted you. You confirm that you were, are and will remain a protest party and not a party of power. A party of grumbling and not a party of results,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Saturday during the debate on the 2023 budget in parliament.
He underlined that 2023 will be better than 2022, just as dynamic and just as hopeful, thus completing the first positive cycle of a truly new Greece, while he emphasized: “Economic growth but also social welfare. Brave reforms but also prudent considerations. These principles permeate our government’s fourth budget. Unfortunately, the third in conditions of international crises, but the first after 12 years with an exclusively national seal and outside the narrow framework of enhanced surveillance.”
Amid global turmoil, 2022 ends with GDP growth nearly twice the European average
Mitsotakis spoke of proof of progress of the national economy in recent years and reminded that in the midst of global turmoil, 2022 ends with GDP growth almost twice the European average.
From 2023, the economy returns to primary surpluses
At the end of 2023, public wealth will have increased by 45 billion euros compared to 2018. So we continue to respond to the international recession with growth. But not only with a quantitative increase, but also with a qualitative upgrade, the prime minister underlined making a reference to exports and foreign investments. “Behind these numbers is essentially the renaissance of Greek manufacturing,” he added.
He also underlined that a lesson of the pandemic was that dependence on sectors critical and sensitive to international fluctuations, such as tourism, can shake a society like the Greek one. At the same time, the same numbers show that growth also combats the biggest social injustice, which is unemployment.
“So employed people now reach 4,200,000. We have already added almost 300,000 new jobs since 2019 and 150,000 in 2022 alone. At the same time, the minimum wage has increased by 9.7% in 2022,” he explained.
Mitsotakis added that “at the end of 2023 the public debt will fall to 160% of GDP, showing the largest reduction in the EU. Moreover, 2022 will be the last year with a primary deficit. From 2023 the economy returns to primary surpluses. In other words, it will open the way to achieving investment grade rating.”
The prime minister underlined that “after 12 years, 1,700,000 pensioners will see an increase close to 8%. While another 1,000,000 will have an indirect benefit from the complete abolition of the solidarity levy. Relief, however, is also coming for 2,300,000 of our most vulnerable fellow citizens, who will be paid an allowance of 250 euros”.
From February and for 6 months the state will cover 10% of food costs
He added: “We are moving forward with a new initiative to support as many households as possible. This measure will apply for incomes up to 24,000 euros for a couple, with an additional 5,000 euros for each child. So that the middle class will also benefit from the new initiative. From next February and for 6 months, the State will cover 10% of every household’s purchases in supermarkets, but also in all food businesses: bakeries, butchers, fruit shops, pastry shops, fishmongers.”
Electricity and natural gas subsidies will continue
“On measures regarding the increased energy costs, we will continue to stand by society in the best possible way. A total of more than 8 billion euros will be allocated at the national level,” he said and added: “3.5 billion euros will be directed to households and 4.8 billion to businesses. The electricity and natural gas subsidies will continue while another 500 million euros will be allocated for the increased heating allowance.”
Tsipras: This budget will be the last one of the Mitsotakis government
“This budget will be the last budget of the Mitsotakis government. It will also be a budget that will not be implemented,” SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance leader Alexis Tsipras said on Saturday during the debate on the 2023 budget in parliament.
He underlined that “very soon, a new progressive parliamentary majority will be in these seats and will proceed with its revision.”
The leader of SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance said that a key feature of this year’s state budget is “the social indifference, the injustice, the defiant looting of wage earners and the middle class, the bleeding of the weak, the underprivileged, and at the same time the serving of the interests of the few and the powerful.”
He accused (Prime Minister Kyriakos) Mitsotakis that his policy and plan focuses on “the provocative redistribution of wealth and income from the many to the powerful few” and that therefore “the demand for change and justice everywhere is gaining ground every day in Greek society.”
Tsipras commented that New Democracy is celebrating that it saved the country, “the party that has the sad privilege of having bankrupted the country twice, in 2009 and 2014” and delivered to the SYRIZA government “a financially bankrupt country”.
He accused the government of not even being able to assess the energy and inflationary crisis as well as of privatizing the Public Power Corporation (PPC). He said that with the government choices the consequences of the crisis are multiplied, adding that “the GDP per capita in Greece is the second lowest in Europe”.
Alexis Tsipras noted that “the time of justice is approaching. The victory of SYRIZA in the elections will bring a progressive government.”
THESSALONIKI - Israelis, Americans, French and Cypriots are just some of the foreign visitors who visited the renovated Agora Modiano, in the centre of Thessaloniki, in its first two months of operation.
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