The Prime Minister heads to TIF with neoliberal cards up his sleeve

The Prime Minister heads to TIF with neoliberal cards up his sleeve

After changing Greece’s narrative in Europe, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis heads to Thessaloniki ready to change the narrative around TIF, as the government spokesman commented.

TIF will no longer be a forum for debate, but will rather become a step for the government policy to be unfolded, with a twelve-month planning and subsequently a step for reporting on what has been achieved. “We do not proceed to U-turns, we are going to realize the program for which the citizens voted for us on July 7″, government officials claim. Of course, this is only half-truth, as facts he had carefully concealed during the election campaign are now coming to light. The most prominent of these are the projections for the development law regarding the sale and disposal of seashores to private interests. In summary, previous restrictions on the construction of hotels and the disposal of coastlines for umbrellas are lifted, while prices go down, in the interest of private investors and at the expense of public revenue. At the same time, the prime minister is expected to speak about the public services’ outsourcing, starting with transferring control mechanisms to private investors, in order to allow the setting up and licensing of businesses. The excuse behind this is that about 2,500 applications are already pending.

The prime minister will address favorite and inexpensive issues, such as the development bill, tax cuts to change the economic policy mix. At the same time, the communications staff raises the issue of the citizens’ safety, which is symbolically under development with the operations that are being carried out  in Exarchia, although robberies in neighborhoods continue uninterrupted.

Of course, he will refer to the reduction of ENFIA and the removal of capital controls, the improvements in the 120-installment program, and to the facilitations regarding primary residencies. Overall regarding the financial policy, the Economic Staff argues that “the implementation of the 2019 budget is going well. We will also build a solid 2020, so that tax cuts for individuals come faster”. In this context, the prime minister is expected to talk about lowering the import tax rate to a scale that will have lower rates, and will end up well below 45%, which currently constitutes the maximum rate. He will re-state his promise of two tax rates on VAT, “one 11% and the other 22%, replacing today’s 13% and 24%, while maintaining the 6% overreduced tax rate on medicines and other vulnerable categories”.

Regarding the primary surpluses, the prime minister will reiterate what he has already stated, that he will implement what was agreed upon for 2019 and 2020, and once he has worked on his credibility abroad, he will then raise the issue of surpluses.

The government staff avoids national issues, such as the Macedonian dispute or the Greek-Turkish affair, for obvious reasons, since tackling them would spoil the government’s narrative of implementing its commitments earlier than expected. Nonetheless, Erdogan’s threats, as well as the strident voices of the past regarding the Prespa Agreement, await answers.

Even when it comes to the migration issue, Mr. Mitsotakis hides his embarrassment and the high expectations he had created with the implementation of the EU-Turkey joint declaration. To put it in other words, he leaves it up to Erdogan to control the flow, and up to the Europeans’ kindness to integrate more refugees; that is exactly what the previous government did, receiving New Democracy’s sharp criticism. /ibna