ATHENS – While looking ahead to a tough election campaign this year – the polls must be held by July if not sooner – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis gave an assessment of 2022 that applauded his New Democracy government’s accomplishments.
It was a laundry list of taking credit for everything from helping the young find work and afford homes to reducing taxes, speeding the digitization of state services, educational reforms and packages to help families.
He put the message out through social media, but didn’t refer to a spyware scandal nor criticism about his handling of the economy, the waning COVID-19 pandemic or growing Turkish provocations.
Instead, he lauded policies his government introduced, saying it was a selective listing, starting with measures taken to reduce high unemployment among the young, the sector finding it toughest to get jobs.
He also referred to a double increase of the minimum wage and a digital employment card which aims to combat the phenomenon of undeclared and unpaid overtime and help workers get what really earned.
Other measures he cited included changes for supplementary pensions after 2022 and the transformation of the unemployment agency to helping those out of work find jobs and not just manage their benefits.
He also highlighted the vocational training programs launched via the program Greece 2.0, with a budget of one billion euros ($1.07 billion) to offer digital and green economy skills to 500,000 citizens, said the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency ANA-MPA.
He noted the Spiti Mou program just passed that will help up to 140,000 people up to the age to 39 to find affordable housing, which he said is a key priority he will pursue in 2023 if he wins re-election.
Mitsotakis also referred to the reforms in education, especially in providing vocational training to school leavers and extended hours in primary schools, as well as an increase in places for preschool children to help support working parents.
He said there were many measures to make life easier for working mothers, extending maternity leave to nine months and referred to policies targeting domestic violence, sexual abuse of children and others to encourage victims to speak up and report their abusers, which he said worked.
Mitsotakis highlighted the progress in clearing a backlog of pending pension applications, with the waiting period for new applications now down to two months, and initiatives such as the Fofi Gennimata breast cancer screening program.
He noted the pay rises given to doctors, ambulance staff and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) staff and the approval for the hiring of new medical staff in the national health system, progress regarding people with disabilities and how Greece has become an attractive destination for film and TV productions.
“The year 2022 was one full of challenges but also steps of progress for our country. We all know how many things we would like to improve in the functioning of the state. Each of you will have complaints, ideas, problems that the state should solve. For this reason, when all is said and done, it is not the things that we have already achieved that is in my thoughts but the many things that are yet to do. This is what we work for every day,” he said.