Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, with his speech that kicked off the party’s 13th Congress, signified the mark New Democracy and the governing policy have left on an ideological and political level; a synthesis of political neo-liberalism and social solidarity.
The lack of any references to the Macedonian issue, as well as the limited mention of the migration crisis the and Greek-Turkish relations, which constitute those issues that shake the core of the party executives and voters, was rather surprising.
Mr. Mitsotakis adopted the “Growth for All” slogan, claiming that “it captures the roots of our ideology: that is, the production of new wealth that will be shared fairly”.
Reflecting on his achievements, he said that “Our country today has the strongest government across Europe; New Democracy is the largest center-right party in terms of organization. It is the first leadership to have defeated populism; not by copying its methods, but by tackling its basic elements”. Proceeding to superficial self-criticism simply to satisfy the feeling of resentment caused by the latest scandalous appointments, he acknowledged that there have been “slips. Some of the latest, indeed, I will be the first one to acknowledge them and hasten to heal. On the other hand, however, we will never equate the few and small failures of the present with the great crimes of the past”. Moving on to a more thorough unfolding of his ideological and political context, he commented that its core consists of the two components of individual freedom and social care. Of course, he did not drift away from the neo-liberal framework, as he added that “without individual freedom there is no collective prosperity”. He included social solidarity as one of the basic constituents of social liberalism, yet without addressing the social state and its institutions that ought to protect against social exclusion. He repeated the slogan “Growth for All”, explaining that it was about “the production of new wealth, that will be equally distributed”. He also said that “the other part of our policy since July 9 is summed up in two words: New country. A new state, that is, internally, with an upgraded role and more effective mechanisms. Furthermore, a new country, with a renewed special focus abroad”.
He made brief references to Turkey’s aggressive attitude, managing migration flows and promoting international energy regimes, by saying that “On these fronts, International law and good neighborly relations remain our compasses. Through confident, calm and responsible patriotism. Those who are in a hurry to challenge, in an institutionally frail way, our sovereign rights, should know that they will have to go not only through Greece, but through our European allies as well”. Regarding immigration, he said: “The country’s policy has changed”, while he added:” I must say, however, that this problem has come to stay. That is why we all need to rise to the occasion, by proportionally sharing the burden the country has taken on its shoulders”.
Mr. Mitsotakis referred to two historical personalities to follow up on the “liberal party his is the leader of; those were, of course, the founder, Konstantinos Karamanlis, as well as Eleftherios Venizelos: “Two major 20th century reforms remain, however, the hallmarks of the neo-liberal thinking in the country: The Constitution principles of 1911 and of 1975. That is because, although in a different political and social landscape, both had two key goals. Venizelos cared for the establishment of a strong state capable of guaranteeing economic and social growth, while Karamanlis offered the counterweight of a strong citizen” /ibna