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Politics

Tsipras Says He Knows What Greece Really Needs for Recovery

ATHENS – Stepping up his criticism as he falls further in polls, Greece's major opposition SYRIZA leader and former premier Alexis Tsipras said the New Democracy government's plan to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic is unfair.

Echoing a 40-point plan he said would resurrect Greece when he won snap elections in 2015 – and then breaking it – he said his idea for an economic comeback would benefit workers whose rights had had diluted while in power.

Tsipras said the government's economic recovery idea puts a burden on small and medium-sized businesses, favors privatizations and undermines labor safeguards, without noting he had done the same before being ousted in July 7, 2019 snap polls.

During a presentation of SYRIZA's Greece+ scheme he said it would be based on support from the European Union – which New Democracy is doing as well, utilizing 32 billion euros ($39.09 billion) in loans and grants.

Tsipras, who mostly disdained New Democracy when he was prime minister, said Mitsotakis didn't consult him about how to bring a rebound with the pandemic slowly being beaten back by vaccinations.

“The chronological scope of its program surpasses the constitutional tenure of the current administration,” he said, adding that he will propose the formation of a special parliamentary committee to oversee the allocation of those funds.

The government’s recovery program, he said, relies on four pillars, reported Kathimerini and the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency (ANA-MPA):

-Reducing wages and increasing working hours

-Privatizations of public infrastructure, including energy companies, insurance funds, and health and education services

-Reducing the number of smaller businesses and leaving them out of the “green” transition to sustainable energy

-Cutting taxes on profits and high incomes by transferring the tax burden on consumption and onto small and medium-sized property assets and reducing social spending

He said what Greece needs instead is a coherent strategy “that lays the foundations for sustainable, equitable development and growth,” but he didn't offer one.

He said his plan would:

-Promote energy self-production by homes and businesses and be based on a model of equal contribution

-Support salaries his government had cut, help freelancers he required to pay taxes a year in advance, boost collective bargaining rights he took away, raise the minimum wage when he didn't when he had the chance, and upgrade workers skills to help

-Bringing nationwide access to advanced digital public services which he didn't do during his 4 ½ years in power, and as New Democracy is already doing

-Raise welfare spending he hadn't done and increase a national health budget he had cut, and spend more on education and culture

-Engage  local communities into local government planning and the absorption of EU Recovery Fund resources and create a new agricultural model for the mainland and islands, without saying how that would be done.

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