Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis gave a speech to his party’s parliamentary group today raising the issues of immigration and insurance but without a word on foreign policy, despite his trips and contacts during the first three months of his governance and most importantly despite the recent developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans.
The prime minister apparently believes that foreign policy issues are not an appropriate issue to be discussed during the party’s parliamentary group, contrary to tax cuts and the anti-smoking law on which he specifically focused once again.
The prime minister summed up his first 100 days in office, pointing to and thoroughly explaining the financial and tax measures “so that it becomes clear -as he said- who serves the many and who serves the elite”, while referring extensively to the planning of the 100 days to follow.
He made a special reference to the migration issue: “By simplifying asylum procedures; by proceeding with strictest control of our borders; with the organized depressurization of our islands as well. I will shortly discuss this with President Donald Tusk. We promote the migration issue as a European affair, because that is exactly what it is”.
He also discussed the bill for the vote of Greeks abroad: “It will not simply constitute the recognition of their right; more than that, it will provide an extra bond with the homeland, which will magnify its power and influence”. He also stated that this is a measure provided by our Constitution and ensures equality for all Greek voters. He noted that the Home Office has been working hard on this, while adding that “I have already begun the discussion procedures on my behalf ” declaring he is ready to make the necessary steps back in order to reach the widest possible consensus. He also announced “the new insurance plan, which will be in line with the decisions of the Council of State which backed us up in our condemnation of the abomination Katrougalos had introduced, and which will not reduce any Greek pension!” He also said that all benefits would be given.
He began with the government’s operations and the separation of the parliamentary authority from the executive, while he also noted as a sign of respect for the parliamentary operations that the government transferred the Novartis initiative on the Parliament, something he said would take a long time before the political opponents realized. He added that during yesterday’s procedures the ministers were in the chamber, yet they were sitting on the parliament seats rather than the ministerial ones.
He then went on to launch an attack on his political opponents regarding the Novartis case, saying that “unfortunately, those who as a government in the past were yelling about alleged political scandals, were pre-emptying persecutions and were recruiting pseudo-martyrs, have not realized that some things have changed in Greece. And those who courageously set up 10 ballots in the House to damage the reputation of their opponents do not realize that there is now a government that does not interfere with either the duties of Parliament nor with Justice”.
Review of the first 100 days
He referred to the first 100 days’ bills and initiatives:
– Our first bill was about improving the quality of government and the state. Now the Cabinet meets regularly, setting the goals of the government which now operates on a timetable; with 30% fewer General Secretaries and fewer public servants, nonetheless.
– We immediately reduced the average Unified Property Tax (ENFIA) by 22%. already in the draft budget the tax rate for low incomes has dropped from 22% to 9%; in businesses from 28% to 24%; and in dividends, from 10% to 5%.
We have freed banks, businesses and citizens from the loopholes of capital controls. And, to strengthen construction and the market as well, we suspend VAT for three years on real estate transfers and provide a 40% discount on upgrading costs. Yet we also gave one more opportunity to those in debt via the new, favorable 120-dose system.
– With key legislative interventions we have also eliminated many malfunctions that have been flourishing: The University asylum of violence and illegality has been abolished. Democracy is back in universities! Municipalities and regions were freed from the chains of deadlocked simple analog.
By the end of the year, the IRAKLIS project will have effectively dealt the burden of red loans.
He also noted that in the first 100 days in the Insurance sector 66,000 increased widows’ pensions were provided, a benefit that had almost been abolished … The country is already out in the markets with the lowest interest rates ever, ready to repay the IMF loan. Regarding investments, the “Elliniko” project as well as Cosco’s and PPA’s new plan continue steadily.
The country regains its credibility, the prime minister said, adding that it has recently borrowed at a rate of just 1.5% when the previous government borrowed at 3.9% in March. And now, of course, the international interest was eight times as higher. Debts of more than 100m euros were returned to freelancers.
The initiatives of the next 100 days
He also referred to the initiatives of the next 100 days, with particular reference to the anti-smoking law on which he commented, mainly referring to his smoking MPs, “it is a bet that must be won in alliance with all citizens”. He noted that the development bill under the eloquent heading “Invest in Greece” is being filed, adding that amendments to the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code will be passed in October and early November, eliminating the impunity of previous ones. Furthermore, the new Tax plan also moves forward, which will include all the reliefs I announced while at TIF and which I mentioned in the beginning.
Also, by the end of 2019 will follow: The Vote on Overseas Greeks. Reforming the Health System. The National Civil Protection System. Reform in Universities.
Soon our country will have a revised, more functional Charter and the political order a new, fair electoral system. The economy will grow at a rate of more than 2.8% and unemployment will fall by at least two points. /ibna