In a heated discussion over the 2017 budget in Greek parliament, Saturday night, Greek PM Alexis Tsipras responded to Kyriakos Mitsotakis, leader of the main opposition party, New Democracy (ND), claiming his government had achieved its goals and was actually giving back a share of the GDP surplus to lower income groups of society instead of implementing the infamous “cutter”- an automatic spending reduction scheme agreed with the country’s creditors in the event fiscal targets were off course. On his part, Kyriakos Mitsotakis insisted that the only solution to the problems facing the country were elections. “Your party was screaming
the budget was virtual, last year. Not only did we achieve our goals, but we also surpassed them”, Tsipras underlined. “We are not cutting down spending, but we are giving back”, he claimed. Tsipras went on to accuse the major opposition party of adopting destructive rhetoric, while he reassured parliament that there would be no “collision” with the creditors. Defending his announcements last week for a rise to pensioners, he said that they were no pre-election gimmick to gain support, but would apply across the board to all those eligible. “We will exhaust our mandate till the Autumn of 2019”, he replied to Mitsotakis’s calls for elections. During his speech, the Greek PM outlined his government’s policies on alleviating the burden on the less fortunate social groups and the unemployed, while he said that all available resources would be used to assists small businesses. “Our plan is to conclude the second review as soon as possible in order to prepare reentering the credit markets at the start of 2017”, he stressed, adding that Greece would realise the agreement, but would not implement changes in the labour market that would place the country outside the EU framework.
In his speech, Kyriakos Mitsotakis addressed the need for a political change so that the county could exit the current crisis, while he reiterated his position that elections were not a problem, but rather a solution to the current situation. “Elections do not constitute a problem for the country, but the solution. Political change is imperative. The time of a competent government to take power is near”, Mitsotakis claimed. Mitsotakis accused the SYRIZA-ANEL government of failing on all fronts. “No other government has caused so much damage in such a short time frame. In the best case scenario the country in 2017 will be back to where it was in 2014”, he said. The leader of ND blasted Tsipras for hypocrisy, reminding him that he had promised to scrap the memorandum with a single article in parliament, but instead imposed long-term austerity, undermining not only the current government but future ones as well. Focusing on the 2017 budget, Mitsotakis said that use,employed Greeks were right to be concerned about the 2017 budget, as additional taxes and contributions would not create more jobs. “You are the living nightmare of productivity”, Mitsotakis said directly addressing Tsipras.