We received a dramatic economic situation, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Thursday during the off the agenda debate at the parliament plenum on the economy.
Greece will exit the memoranda in a clean and irrevocable way, he underlined.
"The image of the country has significantly changed, unemployment has dropped by seven points in three years and youth unemployment is close to 20 points. 350,000 new jobs have already been created and this figure is expected to increase significantly this year as well as in the coming years," the prime minister said on Thursday during the off the agenda debate at the parliament plenum on the economy.
"Fiscal targets for each year of the third programme have been overcovered. And this was achieved without significant cuts for the majority of the society. Moreover, after almost a decade, Greece shows positive growth rates," he underlined.
"In 2017, GDP grew by almost 1.5 pct and already in the first quarter of 2018 GDP growth was 2.3 pct, ie almost six times the eurozone average, closing at 0.4 pct for the first quarter," Tsipras said adding that Greek bonds are currently at 2006 levels.
"The positive picture is also reflected in the key indices of domestic production," the prime minister explained, citing figures such as the 6.7 pct increase in the industrial turnover index, the increase of almost 30 pct of foreign direct investment in Greece in 2017 and the increase in the total value of exports of goods and services in April 2018, by 11.6 pct.
"And all these are only the beginning of a course that will accelerate. Especially after the decisive - and I would say historic - recent decision of the Eurogroup," he said.
The Greek debt became viable with the Eurogroup agreement on June 21, PM Tsipras said on Thursday in closing comments in parliament, adding that the country will have access to the markets without further burdens on the economy or on banks, insurance funds, hospitals and retail bond investors.
In the wrapping up the discussion on the economy, Tsipras said New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis' name-calling against him personally was an indication of awkwardness and irritation at the government's achievements.
Tsipras said the main opposition leader requested the ex-agenda discussion but did not speak about the economy, as economic achievements are not a strength of his party.
Among other things, the prime minister accused Mitsotakis of following the ideas of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who he said advocates for the extension of work shifts to 12 hours and said Mitsotakis also wants to do away with other labor rights, like protection from mass layoffs.
Mitsotakis' angry response
Calling Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras a "liar", a "sycophant" and a "prime minister with an expiration date," main opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis launched into charges that the premier has added hardship to the Greek people through his mistakes, during an address in Parliament on Thursday.
During the off-agenda debate on the economy, which he had requested, Mitsotakis said that a government led by his party New Democracy "will demand and achieve the reduction of primary surpluses" agreed on with Greece's creditors "because it's unfair for Greeks to pay, two generations forward, for Tsipras' incompetence and delusions."
Mitsotakis said that the accumulation of high surpluses achieved "results from the strangulation of the real economy, high taxation, delayed pension payouts and higher social insurance withholdings." August will see the end of "the third, useless adjustment program," he said, but this is not a guarantee to market access, since the country will still be subjected to a quarterly review by the European Union.
Among other issues, Mitsotakis reiterated his party's opposition to the recent Greece-FYROM agreement on the name issue, and accused the government of "promoting the storyline that legislated measures on pension reductions may be suspended" although the measures, which kick in on January 1, 2019, "were not foreseen in the third program (memorandum) and are the price paid for your own lack of credibility."
Latest from E.Tsiliopoulos
- Islands and mainland have same rights to EEZ, continental shelf says US State Dept spokesperson
- 17 NGOs call on Min. Mitarakis to restore health coverage for migrants as more arrive at islands
- State Department calls on Turkey to stop drilling in Cyprus EEZ
- Naxos' 'Arseniko' cheese included in EU PDO products list
- Poet Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke passes