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Politics

Mitsotakis, Tsipras Clash in Parliament over Government’s Social Policies

ATHENS – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis addresses parliament during a debate taking place at his request, in order to brief lawmakers on the government’s social policies.

Mitsotakis: All our policies could be called social

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis highlighted the government reforms regarding employment during Wednesday’s debate in Parliament on the government’s social policies, conducted on the level of political party leaders. He noted that all the government’s policies might be described as “social”, as all of them ultimately concerned the citizens.

“This also concerns the new hiring we carried out, for the first time in a decade, in education, the support of the national health system, education’s shift toward better quality, upgraded universities, the support of technical training and above all investments that brought the country above the barrier of four million workers for the first time in many years,” Mitsotakis said.

The bold changes regarding employment were the thrust of this effort, he noted: “I will speak of the four great ‘chapters’ of our social policy: employment, ensuring better pay and better working conditions for those already in work, fighting unemployment, the most cruel injustice, measures on the level of social insurance, restoring a system that will quickly and fairly provide workers with their labours once they retire, and our policies for the protection of the weakest.”

He noted that labour issues were crucial for the double raise in the minimum wage in Greece, noting that this was 650 euros a month when the government came into power and had now risen to 713 euros, while the benefit was even greater as a result of a reduction in social security contributions, reaching 1000 euros for each worker on an annual basis.

This placed Greece in the ninth place in the European Union, above Portugal, and would also lead to increases in benefits and three-year pay rises, the prime minister added.

Mitsotakis also said that “today we can say with much greater certainty that this government will on 1 January 2023 abolish the solidarity contribution for everyone, both pensioners and the civil servants. On the same day, pensions will unfreeze for the first time in 12 years and will be placed on a course of regular and permanent increases. It is a double resounding signal that the country’s growth must benefit everyone without putting fiscal balance and the Greek economy’s competitiveness at risk”.

PM Mitsotakis Addresses Greek Parliament. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Yiorgos Kontarinis)

Mitsotakis: The citizen is the epicentre of all the government’s actions

The citizen as an individual is at the epicentre of the government’s actions and not the “people in the vague and general sense adopted by those that seek to cloud the direction of their choices”, Mitsotakis said. Speaking during a debate on the level of party leaders that he called to brief parliament on the government’s social policies, he said this meant each Greek man and woman as individual entities and more specifically the middle classes and primarily those that are most vulnerable.

Mitsotakis said that the government’s top priority was a speedy recovery of the national economy, with lots of investments leading to better wages and many new jobs.

“Today’s Greece is a different Greece. It is one of the countries with the most dynamic growth and the highest reduction of unemployment in Europe. It is of the top countries in the OECD in terms of tax reduction and has paid off its debt to the IMF two years earlier, while in August it will break free of enhanced surveillance while aiming to regain its investment grade. This is a national success, even more so because all the things I spoke of were neither self-evident nor easy, nor were they achieved under normal conditions,” the prime minister stressed.

Tsipras: PM’s speech full of ‘so many, many lies’

SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance leader Alexis Tsipras. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Yiorgos Kontarinis)

Responding to an address by Prime Minister, main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance leader Alexis Tsipras spoke of a speech with “so many, many lies”, in which the prime minister had attempted to present himself as supposedly “pro-labour” and as having a “social face”.

Taking part in the party leaders’ debate requested by Mitsotakis to brief parliament on the government’s social policies, Tsipras said: “You spoke of crucial issues of the social policy but you forgot to mention five [things]: high prices, inflation, fuel, pandemic and conspiracy”.

He described Mitsotakis’ speech as “a case study” for political scientists on “how someone turn black into white and how to say so many, many lies,” while adding that “it is the reality that is refuting you, not us”.

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