Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during a state address from the island of Ithaca, on Tuesday, a day after Greece exited its third memorandum spoke of “the beginning of a new era,” at the same time preparing the Greeks for the bumpy road that lies ahead saying, “We have reached our destination, we have come out of the memoranda, but we will not stop here. New battles are now ahead of us.” Still, he underlined the fact that “Now that we have reached our destination, we have the strength to make our place as it deserves to be”, in a message that would inspire confidence throughout the people.
Resorting to the importance of past mistakes, Tsipras noted that “we will not ignore the lessons of history.” “We will not let oblivion mislead us. We will never forget the causes and the people that led the country to the memoranda. Because these are important for a country that is writing a new page in its history.”
Moving on to the actual new phase the country has entered, through his address, the premier of Greece highlighted his government’s main goal: “Based on our vision and determination, a new era for Greece begins. We must not go back to Greece of deficits and bankruptcy. We must proceed to the rebirth of Greece. A country of equality, democracy and social justice,” he underlined.
“In choosing the western island of Ithaca to declare the end of the bailout era Tuesday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras harked back to one of the country’s legendary heroes from antiquity.
From the purported home place of Odysseus, the mythical Mycenaean king whose arduous 10-year travels are immortalized in Homer’s Odyssey, Tsipras said in a televised address that Greece was ready to become a “normal” country again.
‘Since 2010, Greece has undergone a modern Odyssey’, he said, in a speech heavy on Homeric and nautical allusions. ‘Ithaca is just the beginning’, AP wrote.
Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader, Kyriakos Mitsotakis condemned the PM’s speech which, in his view, caused “sadness” among Greeks, angered and divided them.
He also criticised him severely for addressing the nation from Ithaca, referring to “false” symbolism that does not correspond to reality.
“We have not reached the end of the journey”, he stressed only to add that “Cheap financing ends today, but the tough measures and heavy commitments which Mr Tsipras signed up to will continue.”
Mitsotakis went a few years back to a well-known and widely mentioned (across Greece) and criticised phrase of the country’s PM, who, ahead of the 2015 election that brought him to power, had not stopped denouncing the memoranda reiterating that should he win the election race, his government would “tear up the memoranda”.
According to Mitsotakis, Tsipras “went on to sign an unnecessary third memorandum that cost us more than 100 billion euros. And now the fourth informal memorandum begins, with austerity, new pension cuts, increases in taxes and levies, cruel primary surpluses and very strict monitoring.”
In the meantime, talks of an anticipated reshuffle become more frequent and Tsipras is indeed burdened with providing financial relief to the part of Greek society that was badly affected by the crisis, above all, the pensioners, the unemployed and the low-paid employees.
If any relevant announcement is to be made, it should be expected during the premier’s speech at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) of this year, that opens on September 8, which “is traditionally a platform for governments to announce their economic policy plans”, as AP noted…. / IBNA
Main Photo: The Prime Minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras during his state address from the Ionian island of Ithaca, August 21, 2018