ATHENS – Not unexpectedly, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis gave a bright estimate of Greece recovering in 2022 despite the lingering COVID-19 pandemic but major opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras wants a restart.
“The weeks ahead will bring waves, but we have the power to put the storm behind us and lead the country into calm waters, so that this winter of uncertainty will be succeeded by a spring of hope,” said Mitsotakis in his New Year’s message.
Greeks, he said, “need to be united, mature and careful.” They need to “close their ears to talk of disaster and defeatism, and listen only to the voice of science and truth,” in a sideways shot at Tsipras, a former premier who has been sniping away.
Mitsotakis said that the way out is following the recommendations of his panel of doctors and scientists, whose advice he has often rejected and as he backed away from a pledge to consider mandatory vaccinations for all.
Still, he said, their advice “is the best gift we can give ourselves and those around us,” even if he hasn’t always accepted it. “It is also the best prologue to the new and hope-filled chapter of 2022,” he said.
That for now flies in the face of scientific evidence that for some time the pandemic will get worse on the back of the Omicron Variant that’s less deadly than the Delta Variant but more contagious and bringing record numbers of cases.
Tsipras, who has constantly criticized Mitsotakis for going back-and-forth on restrictions to deal with the health crisis and called for early elections said that the new year is the time for Greeks to “take back their lives and dignity,” and that 2022 “can and should be the year of big change” and a “new start,” said Kathimerini.
He said his message was intended mostly to “those battling for their own lives, battling to save lives” and “those who lost loved ones” after he blamed Mitsotakis for the death toll being so high.
“Almost every Greek family is experiencing times of anxiety and insecurity from the geometric rise in cases. Our hospitals have long passed their limits. Doctors and nurses are at the end of their tether,” he added.
He also said the jumping prices, such as high electric and food bills are “besieging households and shrinking incomes,” but didn’t offer solutions to deal with it.