ATHENS — "I wanted to address the Parliament today in order to stress the importance of the European Covid-19 Certificate. Its special contribution to the effort so that tourism can be the first this year to begin the cycle of recovery for the entire Greek economy," Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Tuesday during the debate on the bill which ratifies the legislative act on the issue of digital covid certificates.
"As the way out of the crisis is now visible, from the times of the covid cases, we are now gradually entering the time of recovery," the prime minister said, stressing that "if vaccination is an antidote to the coronavirus, for our health, the digital certificate was a first tonic injection for our economy. We were the first to recommend it. The proposal of Athens is a reality of Europe," Mitsotakis stressed.
"Let me remind you that we were at the forefront of initiatives at other levels too," the prime minister said, explaining that Greece was "one of the first countries to use self-tests. I want to remind you that it was Greece together with seven other European countries that raised the need for a great European economic response to the recession caused by the coronavirus last March. The result was the Recovery Fund."
Mitsotakis added that "it shows our ability to turn challenges into opportunities. It concerns the huge progress in the digitisation of the state mechanism as a whole."
Referring then to the progress of the pandemic in Greece, the prime minister stressed that the number of cases and patients requiring breathing support was decreasing. "It is now extremely encouraging that cases are declining rapidly and hospital admissions are dropping," Mitsotakis said, and added: "However, it is extremely sad that the vast majority of those now intubated in ICUs are people who chose not to be vaccinated. This is something that should deeply concern us."
"I hold on to the positive. A month ago we had over 800 people intubated. Today it is below 360 and we predict that this process of de-escalation will continue," he added.
"I consider the European Certificate to be the key for tourism," Mitsotakis stated. "We must treat it, not only as a development with a health impact, but as an action with a strong social and economic footprint. It is necessary to have substantial support in the tourism sector."
"The vaccine that creates permanent protection for public health, correct application of the certificate and the Greece 2.0 plan; reforms in our country have never stopped," he said. "Overcoming this challenge is now the starting point for big changes with a 10-year horizon. Greece will disburse almost 7 billion euros in 2021, coming 2nd in Europe in the absorption of the NSRF."
The prime minister, concluding his speech, stressed: "We have every reason to be optimistic about the journey that opens before us. To finally work together in the direction shown by the compass of the future. We turn over the page of the pandemic and start writing on the page of prosperity."