ATHENS – Addressing the Partido Popular party conference in Valencia, Spain on Sunday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis underlined his determination to press ahead with the reformist agenda that he presented to voters before the 2019 elections, undismayed by the pandemic, migration issue and the serious challenges from Turkey in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean.
According to the Greek prime minister, his pre-election proposals for "real change" granted the New Democracy party and himself a clearcut victory and dominance of the political spectrum spanning the right to the progressive centre, while allowing him to defeat "the populists of the far Left". He expressed confidence that the same victory can be won by Partido Popular and its leader Pablo Casado in Spain's upcoming elections.
"We stuck to our commitments. We lowered taxes for every Greek, we cut bureaucracy, created a digital state, modernised our party so that New Democracy now occupies the entire space between the right and the progressive centre," he said.
"We won the elections because we offered, not just to our supporters but all the Greek people, a new vision of renewal in which they could believe," Mitsotakis said, and the Greek people had rewarded his party with an absolute majority in parliament so that it could implement its programme.
"I am here to convey the message that this is possible. The populists of the far Left, the equivalent to your Podemos, were defeated in the recent elections by the progressive centre-right party. When you take over power, I am certain that you will have the same vision as us. A vision not only for a progressive Spain but a vision for a progressive Europe," he added.
According to the Greek premier, this meant a Europe that defended its borders and made defence central in its policies, ensuring that the Recovery and Resilience Fund resources were used to improve the lives of all Europeans and to reduce income inequality, "thus ensuring that we can all look toward a common future."
Mitsotakis called for a decrease in taxes and an increase in investments and reforms that create the right conditions for entrepreneurship, employment, growth and higher productivity.
"This means exactly what we did in Greece: lowering taxes, labour market reforms, developing green technology and using smart technology and digital innovation in order to obtain the best possible result for the citizens."
In his own speech, Casado said that Mitsotakis and ruling New Democracy were an example for how to manage major challenges, such as the pandemic, praising the Greek prime minister's steadfast resistance of populism, while pledged to support the protection of Greek borders if his party comes into power:
"I will say this clearly: the future Spanish government of Partido Popular will fully support the protection of the Greek borders and of your national interests in the Mediterranean against threats from other neighbouring countries. We are at Greece's side as an EU country, above and beyond any other interests," he said.