Athens, October 19, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Alexia Tasouli
Apostolos Tzitzikostas is Governor of the District of Central Macedonia and candidate for New Democracy leadership.
What will be your first move if elected leader of the New Democracy? Will you address your party’s voters or the Greek people?
The voters of New Democracy are part of the broad and wide social alliance of national responsible choices. But we must regain the trust of the public which was tested during the years of the crisis. We must change ourselves first in order to ultimately inspire society. So, we will reach out first to our members in order then to become credible interlocutors of society in order to design and build, together, the future of the country beyond and out of MoU’s.
What would you do in order for Greece to regain its lost credibility abroad?
The crisis highlighted the enduring pathologies and weaknesses that we had as a country. At the same time it highlighted the European Union’s credibility deficit, the inherent structural weaknesses. Something that is reflected in the rise of extremist, populist and eurosceptic groups.
The issue of regaining credibility goes beyond national borders and requires similar solutions. And now we know that it is wrong to think that we are facing major problems using stereotypes like “North-South”.
However, the recovery of the country’s lost credibility abroad is our business.
The truth is that the SYRIZA government and the “creative ambiguity” of Mr. Tsipras, shattered the credibility of the country abroad and rubbished the sacrifices of the citizens, turning the country back to the beginning of the crisis.
Credibility is not won by making promises, but by planning, seriousness and work. Suffice we exploit the advantages of the country, mainly to exploit the enormous potential of human resources of our homeland.
You need the strengthening of institutions, to implement structural reforms and accountability. The geopolitical position of the country requires us quickly overcome the problems, to further strengthen our stabilizing role in the region.
Will you follow the same old path with respect to your policy vis a vis the government,launching attacks on it or, if you like, criticizing it in the manner we are used to over the years from the opposition or are you thinking of a new kind of opposition?
Under no circumstances will we provide consent to wrong policies that impose new taxes, strangle businesses and the private sector, devastate the right of young people to work, dismantle the potential for social cohesion and for supporting the weakest social groups, such as the last bill that brought by the government.
Our priority is to support only those policies that are useful for the country and our citizens, only those who can support the growth mentality we serve as a party. This government has no plan. It destroys any bridge for crossing over to the post-MoU era, for the visions and challenges of this era.
On the other hand we are not going to micromanage politics, but rather manage the policies that will get us out of the current impasse.
Through a national plan for the reconstruction of the country’s productive sector to create wealth and new jobs, restarting of real economy and through the liberation of the creative forces of the country.
Only then can we claim changes under the Memorandum today and immediately create the Greece will finally move away from the causes of the crisis. In order to provide all Greeks with growth prospects.
Many different voices have been heard within New Democracy regarding the refugee and immigration issue. What is your view of the issue both in Greece and in Europe?
The immigration and refugee issue is of course a global and a European problem which must be tackled at its roots.
Europe cannot afford today to awkwardly, fearfuly and selfishly approach yet another crisis. We need adequate infrastructure, prevention mechanisms, effective solidarity and practical support – financial and other – to countries receiving waves of migration and refugee flows.
This does not relieve the government of SYRIZA from its inadequacy, its obsessions and its failure to address the problem in a practical manner.
There is no need for me to remind you of the statements of the competent ministers, the mess at the reception centers, the inability to receive financial support and the ignorance shown of maritime borders.
I would insist, however, that there is a mismatch of power in Europe in relation to the exercise of policies to stabilize the region through a common foreign policy that solves problems; one that will not be called upon retrospectively to remedy consequences from a position of weakness.