ATHENS – “Tomorrow we expect a decision for the settlement of the Greek debt that will signal the end of an eight-year adventure for Greece and the end of austerity,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Wednesday, referring to Thursday’s Eurogroup meeting.
Tsipras made the comments prior to a meeting with Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) President Andreas Dracopoulos, who was expected to brief him on a 250-million-euro project on public health, which the foundation has undertaken.
Tsipras noted that the government’s priority is the social state and public health, thus the SNF’s very important offer will cover weaknesses and deficiencies of the health system, creating a very positive dynamic.
The meeting will be attended by Renzo Piano, the architect that will be in charge of designing new infrastructure planned as part of the project and the President of John Hopkins University Ronald Daniels. Participants on the government side included Health Minister Andreas Xanthos, Alternate Health Minister Pavlos Polakis and Education Minister Costas Gavroglou.
“We are close to harvesting the fruits of many years of hard effort and sacrifices by the Greek people,” Tsipras said, noting that Greece had managed to “pleasantly defy its partners expectations” by completing a difficult and demanding programme of structural reforms on time and restoring confidence in the country, as well as improving its position internationally through a “brave and decisive effort to solve problems in our neighbourhood….through a historic agreement we reached with our northern neighbours”.
Breaking down the progress made in implementing the SNF project, Tsipras noted that this included the appointment of state representatives to a special advisory committee that will support the cooperation between the Greek State and the SNF, the appointment of the working teams, which had already started meeting, the drafting of the contract that will outline the terms for implementing the donations for each part of the project and specifying the medical equipment that will be donated to the Evangelismos Hospital.
Once the text of the various agreements was finalised, the premier added, these would be signed and ratified in Parliament. On Piano’s involvement, the prime minister singled out plans to build a general hospital in Komotini, the first-ever children’s hospital in Thessaloniki and a redesigning and refurbishment of the nurses building at Evangelismos, which will be converted into a Athens University teaching facility for nurses.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras meets with SNF Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos, in Athens, June 19, 2018. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Tatiana Bollari)