Primeminister’s A. Tsipras speech, during the programmatic statements of the Government

February 8, 2015 | categories : Prime Minister, Speeches

Ms President

Ladies and Gentlemen Members of Parliament,

 

The recovery of our popular sovereignty,

the restoration of our country’s equal role within the institutional framework of the European Union,

the response to the humanitarian crisis,

the restoration of our peoples’ dignity,

the social justice and cultural revival of our country, constitute the main objectives of the social salvation government,

  that we formed following the dominant choice of our people on January 25th.

 

I am fully aware of the responsibility and difficulties.

I am fully aware that the vision of a financially self-reliant, socially just and nationally proud Greece has to go through the process of a hard and difficult negotiation with our partners at the European level.

However, it also has to be demonstrated by our determination to clash with the problematic situations and the dysfunctions here in our own country.

To clash with a regime of political and economic power that plunged our country into the crisis and international scorn.

 

The course of reconstruction and rectification of our country will be long.

Based on the inexhaustible forces of a united and sovereign people, we will make this vision a reality.

With the continued trust and support of our people, we will build a financially self-reliant Greece, independent and sovereign, an equal partner in the European Union and the eurozone.

With an independent, multidimensional and active foreign policy, we will utilize the inexhaustible geopolitical potential of our country, to defend peace, stability and the rigorous application of international law, in our fragile region.

 

And we will achieve all of these because we have a realistic plan.

We have a strategy.

Above all, because we have no commitments, but one:

To serve the interest of our people.

To serve the national interest.

 

Dear colleagues

Prior to presenting the detailed policy statements and asking the Parliament’s vote of confidence in our Government,

I feel the need to reassure once again from this official step, the Greek MPs and all Greek citizens,

  that the irrevocable decision of our government is to honor and to implement in their entirety our campaign policy commitments,

by fully respecting the will of the people as it was expressed by the vote of our people in the recent elections.

This commitment constitutes the non-negotiable core of our policy in all matters directly affecting the citizens, all Greek citizens, without exceptions or exclusions.

For me personally, but for every member of the Government as well, this commitment is a matter of honor, credibility and respect for democracy.

We are daily the recipients of the Greek citizens’ confidence, regardless of their choice at the last elections, and we see the return of hope, dignity and pride.

We feel their expectation for progress and social justice.

It is our democratic obligation and duty not to disappoint them.

Following five years of memoranda barbarity our people cannot take more disappointment, cannot take more frustration.

And that is why in the elections they made a brave choice.

They were not frightened.

They did not succumb to the threats and the propaganda of fear.

Because they knew that those who threatened them had led the people and the country to a full economic, political and moral impasse.

 

It this impasse that we will fight to reverse, both at home and abroad by restoring immediately the operation of democracy.

First of all the operation of the Parliament, which had essentially been rescinded by the A.L.C.

We will fight to restore the respect for the Greek Constitution and its observance.

And to regain the founding Principles and Values of the united Europe.

The Europe of Solidarity, Growth and Democracy.

I am confident that our Government, along with all those who support our efforts in a framework of national consensus, solely driven by the motive of social salvation,

will remain in the collective memory, as the Government which kept its word and represented honestly, steadfastly, without setbacks each and every Greek.

In the name of whom and under whose mandate I stand today before you.

Ladies and Gentlemen Members of Parliament,

The landscape in Greece and Europe remains difficult but is already different.

The agenda is changing.

Greece remains at the center of the international interest, but this time in a positive way.

As a protagonist and not as an extra.

In the negotiations that finally began Greece is tabling proposals.

It does not accept commands.

We are well aware that this negotiation is not easy.

That we have before us an uphill road.

But we have faith in our strength and we will make it!

Mainly because in this negotiation it is abundantly clear that we are right.

The previous governments as well as our partners are responsible for an austerity program imposed on the Greek people that we knew that would mathematically lead not to a temporary recession but to a long-term deterioration of the country’s growth potential and to an unprecedented shrinkage of the Greek economy.

This is what happened.

Following almost five years of extreme austerity we lost approximately ¼ of our GDP.

More than one and a half million of our fellow citizens lost their job.

While more than two and a half million were forced to survive under the poverty threshold.

At the same time the national debt soared from 124% to 180% of the GDP.

While the production base of our economy was devastated, there was an unprecedented process of disinvestment and internal devaluation, which created an explosive mix of recession and deflation, which hinders catalytically the recovery prospect.

The unfortunate occurrence, however, is not that the previous government accepted the application of a policy mix that mathematically would lead the economy and society to a very bad state.

The unfortunate occurrence is that the outgoing government took care, while leaving, to burn the crops and to tear down the bridges.

It made sure, and it is solely responsible for this, that a suffocating negotiation framework was created in order to force the country to reenter a deep memorandum.

And I can inform you of this from a position of knowledge.

As from my contacts with officials of the European Commission I was informed that the initial choice of our partners was a six-month technical extension of the program and it was following a Greek insistence that the deadline of February 28th was determined.

Thereby it is revealed to all of us which was, and still is, the objective of the previous pro memorandum government: The tight time limits, extortion and ultimately the failure of the new Greek government.

Namely, Greece’s failure in order for them to be vindicated.

However, what they forgot to take into account in this fantasy of a short break in the memorandum is that it is not only the technocrats that exist in this negotiation.

There is another important factor.

The people’s factor.

The Greek people and the European people.

Who will not allow this.

Already citizens in Greece and other European countries have been mobilized, they take support and solidarity initiatives.

We thank them and invite them to remain vigilant.

Their solidarity and support is invaluable.

It is only with their support that we will be able to manage the impasse to which we were led to by the Memoranda.

It is only with their support that we will be able to extract Greece and Europe from the vicious circle of austerity, recession and deflation.

Because our strategy does not only concern Greece, it concerns the peoples of all the European countries.

Because the problem is not only Greek, it never was.

The crisis is not solely Greek.

The crisis is European.

And the solution will be European.

Greece will be a positive catalyst concerning the developments in this tough and arduous negotiation.

With a sole objective:

To reach a mutually beneficial solution for Greece and our partners.

 

We repeat emphatically:

Greece wishes to service its debt.

If our partners wish the same, they are invited to come to the negotiating table in order for us to decide together the way and the techniques that will render it viable.

The image of the debt which yesterday exceeded 180% of the GDP does not allow for it to be serviced.

This is what we are trying to explain.

The problem of the Greek debt is not a technical problem.

It is not a matter of technically implementing already taken decisions.

It is a problem of a political nature and of political choices.

As long as the partners insist on austerity, the debt problem will be recycled and will deteriorate.

If we therefore agree upon the fact that austerity is catastrophic, the technical solution for its reduction and repayment will be reached through negotiations and consensus.

It is not our intention to threaten any balance in Europe.

On the contrary, we are the ones who want to restore the balance.

We represent the hope for the extensive and necessary changes that need to be discussed and to occur in Europe.

 

The new government of social salvation wishes, seeks and works in order to combine the institutional and financial obligations that arise from the participation of our country in the eurozone while fully respecting the principle of popular sovereignty.

The respect of the budgetary targets of the Stability and Growth Pact constitutes a European obligation of our country.

Austerity, however, doesn’t.

The treaties of the European Union refer to solidarity and equal cooperation between the member states.

They do not talk about austerity and memoranda.

A fundamental principle of the united Europe is the respect for the democratically expressed will of the people.

That is why we make it clear in all directions what we do not negotiate.

We do not negotiate our sovereignty.

We do not negotiate the people’s rule.

We do not negotiate the mandate from the people.

In the elections of 25th January,

the Greek people provided a strong and clear mandate for the immediate termination to austerity and a change in policy.

Therefore, the Memorandum was abolished firstly by its own failure and its catastrophic results.

Secondly and most importantly: by the verdict of the Greek people.

For this reason, the new government is not entitled to ask for an extension of the Memorandum.

Because it is not entitled to request an extension of the error and the destruction.

Nor is it possible to ask today from the new Greek government, in the name of technical difficulties, to extend the program that our people rejected,

only in order to aid the tactical maneuvering and petty political considerations of Mr Samaras.

What the Greek government seeks from the negotiations with the partners is a new agreement on a “bridge program” until June.

So that we have the fiscal space required for a sincere negotiation concerning debt restructuring and a new program of cooperation and growth between Greece and its European partners.

Many ask benevolently:

Can this possibly be done in the next 15 days?

The contacts that I have had with the institutional representatives of the European Union have convinced me that, despite the difficulties, it is possible.

Of course there might be several issues that will possibly require negotiation time.

As for example the debt issue.

However, for most issues we are completely ready, with a comprehensive program and proposals, to reach an agreement now.

The Greek government has a plan and proposals, which are realistic and capable of creating a mutually acceptable agreement framework.

The new Contract between Greece and Europe which will be reflected in a Medium Term Plan for the National Reconstruction,

will respect the Eurozone operating rules,

but will not condemn the Greek economy to an eternal recession with forecasts of absurd and unrealistic primary surpluses, which are the other name of austerity.

I want to assure the National Delegation and the Greek people that we are firmly and unswervingly pursuing a sustainable agreement with the partners.

And I am optimistic that we will achieve it.

Because this agreement will simultaneously represent an indication that Europe remains devoted to the democratic principles and traditions, to the respect of the people’s will.

Europe must not repeat the mistakes of the dark past.

It will not lead a country to humiliation and debasement.

First and foremost so that we do not relive the era of the monsters.

So that the hatred between the peoples is not fed, but for understanding and solidarity to prevail.

This is now the challenge for the United Europe.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen Members of Parliament,

The timetable that we are proposing to our partners is the one that determines the context of our own political interventions.

Interventions that adhere to the need to ensure fiscal balance and a balanced budget,

but at the same time deal with the social devastation and put an end to the austerity and the humanitarian crisis.

The achievement of balanced budgets, you know, is not a matter of commitments to the partners.

It is the precondition for our economic self-reliance and hence for our sovereignty.

It is the condition for a strong negotiating stance and ultimately for a positive outcome of the negotiation.

The reason is simple: the less money that you need, the more independent you are, the stronger you are to withstand pressures.

That is why our program was designed in conditions of fiscal balance.

However, something that we are all aware of is that it requires the patriotic responsibility of each and every Greek woman and man and we invite them to support this national effort.

The first priority of our government, from Wednesday morning will be to address the humanitarian crisis in our country, just as per our commitment prior to the elections.

These measures will concern the provision of free food, electricity, housing and health care to the thousands of families and households who were victims of the memorandum barbarity these last five years.

They will also concern the restoration of major injustices.

So we are moving immediately forward with the reinstatement of the unconstitutionally dismissed individuals from the public sector: the cleaners of the Finance Ministry, the school guards, the university administrative personnel.

Their reinstatement will not burden the state budget as it will occur within the framework of the recruitment already provided for by the current budget for 2015.

Ladies and Gentlemen Members of Parliament,

In the first five months of negotiations with Europe we face a great challenge.

To vindicate the expectations of the Greek people for a radical reform of the state.

Because without this radical reform, even with the best possible deal concerning the debt, the impasse will return.

What the Greek people provided us with is a clear mandate for battle.

A battle against the ailments of the Greek political system, a fight with the interests of those who built this country.

Because we did not create nor did we govern this state of patronage and financial waste.

And that is why we’re the only ones who can change it.

To achieve the greatest institutional reconstruction in the country’s modern history.

This institutional reconstruction has already started with the big change in the structure of the government, which was the first step towards the rationalization of public administration.

The first phase of the reform will be completed within six months with the processing of solid and cohesive Organizations of the 10 Ministries.

  Our goal is the best executive organization, the coordination of the services, the rapid completion of decisions and the social return.

Simultaneously we are moving ahead with a decisive limitation of wastage in the public sector and a restriction of the privileges of the MPs and the Ministers.

Because we did not come to obtain authority privileges.

We came to abolish privileges and transfer the power to where it originates from, i.e. the Greek people.

Effective immediately, therefore, we are reducing the armies of the consultants and the revocable Ministers’ officials in public administration.

We are abolishing the provocative financial wastage.

We are reducing nearly in half the fleet of the approximately 700 cars in the ministries.

We are ordering for state cars that cost provocative amounts, exceeding 700,000 euros, to be sold.

We are initially ordering for one of the government’s aircrafts to be sold.

Because the example of the lean life, must start from the government itself.

In the same vein I will be asking from the Parliament President to review and to abolish the privilege of the MP car, because I do not believe that our MPs do not have the financial ability to travel at their own expense.

We are determined to impose a new authority style and ethos.

And this must start from the top.

A first example of the new approach is to limit the staff of the Megaron Maximou by 30% and to reduce the guard of the Prime Minister by 40%.

The Cabinet will move in the same direction not only for symbolic reasons but for substantive ones as well.

Because the police officers must leave from the political offices and go to the neighborhoods where the citizen is in need of security and their presence.

The new Government will show full confidence in the civil servants who in difficult circumstances are trying to serve the citizens and the businesses.

  And this confidence will be demonstrated in practice by removing the punitive memorandum regulations concerning the disciplinary legal framework for the civil servants and its replacement by a modern and efficient framework of regulations that will respect the presumption of innocence, but at the same time will effectively protect the public and society by perjurer employees.

We insist that the social return of the civil administration and the support of its social services is a principal political duty of ours.

We are promoting immediately rules regarding the evaluation of civil servants based on objective and meritocratic criteria and simultaneously we are changing selection system of the heads by severing the Gordian knot between the political parties and the state apparatus.

Finally we are adopting measures to simplify public administration processes by exploiting the potential of new technologies in order to reduce the physical contact between the administration and the citizens that feeds the small corruption and in order to achieve the best possible service for the citizens:

 

With the completion of the new Organizations of the Ministries no civil service will be asking for certifications from citizens or companies that certify information or data already held by another government department.

This will reduce overnight bureaucracy and provide intrinsic motivation to the civil administration to move forward with the electronic interconnection of its services and with the necessary automation.

Within the context of the radical administrative reform a key role will be played by the support, in every way, of the local government.

In this context we are creating a new institutional framework through the radical revision of Kallikratis.

We are commencing immediately the procedures of a wide consultation, with interventions in the whole range of responsibilities and structure of Kallikratis, until the new legislative framework is completed.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen Members of Parliament

Our really great struggle, the really fierce fight that this government is ready to give at any cost is the fight against high corruption, against the system of the intertwining corrupted interests.

A system that for years has poisoned public life and has discredited the political system and institutions.

But also against tax evasion and avoidance that has been the real reason why the country reached the edge of brink.

We already established a special portfolio for operational coordination of the relevant departments and audit mechanisms which will organize our strategy in this undeclared war.

We know that we set the bar high, but we cannot afford anything less.

Within this context

Firstly: we are directly mobilizing the Force against Economic Crime in order to check, in priority, the lists of large depositors:

• The list of the Authority for Combating Money from Laundering

• the Lagarde list

• the Liechtenstein list

Secondly: We are creating a Bureau of Internal Control of Customs and we are mobilizing all the relevant authorities and bodies in order to combat contraband tobacco and oil, which leads to an annual revenue loss for the Greek public sector, according to reliable estimates, of more than 1.5 billion E.

Thirdly: We are employing the most modern practices to identify tax-free material originating from triangular and intercompany transactions.

Fourthly: We are mobilizing the Review Body of the Inspectors of Public Administration in order to review the legality of public contracts and public procurement.

To put an end to overpricing and kickbacks.

Fifth: We are putting an end to the various loans used to serve dark interests and the preservation of an oligarchic regime.

The new government guarantees that justice be served.

We are not at ground zero.

We are not erasing the sinful past.

We do not give absolution to anyone:

 

We are immediately abolishing the anyway unconstitutional provisions that provide immunity to the BoD of the TAIPED (Asset Development State Fund), the TXS (Financial Stability Fund) and the Bank of Greece.

All Greek citizens are equal before the law and the executives of the state apparatus, the clerical elite, are not exempt from this principle.

We are moving to establish a Select Committee concerning the Memoranda.

To clarify all aspects.

Not to avenge our political opponents.

Besides, the political responsibilities are assigned by the people.

But to be investigated, fairly and calmly, whether there are any broader responsibilities and for them to be assigned, where they need to be assigned.

We are also launching the process of checking the public procurement contracts for which there is evidence of irregularities of any kind in order to meet the satisfaction of Greek authorities.

Public money does not exist to serve the interests of the oligarchs but to stimulate growth, to reduce unemployment and to raise the living standards of the Greek people.

We are breaking the triangle of the corrupted relationship between the banks, the political system and the media establishment.

We guarantee the universal access of the Greek people to the commodity of the objective, independent from political interventions, information.

We are reconstituting by law the ERT (Greek Radio & Television) from scratch.

By using exclusively resources from the license fee, we are building a strong and competitive public broadcaster that will enhance the presentation of the country abroad, which will widen the chances of the citizens to participate in the cultural goods.

Without a vengeful spirit, without the sloppiness and the wastage of the past.

Without scandalous contracts without privileges for certain categories, without provocative fees.

We are rectifying a huge injustice, a crime against the Greek people and democracy that took place on June 11th, 2013, the day of shame, of the black on our screens.

We are immediately applying the institutional framework in order to audit the financial dealings of broadcasters and other media.

We are putting an end to gratuitous loans granted with non-transparent terms.

And we are moving ahead with the call for competitions for the open, transparent and consistent with the existing legislation, lending of all broadcasting media.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen Members of Parliament,

Ladies and gentlemen,

The institutional reconstruction that we are promoting has a motto:

Democracy Everywhere.

The memoranda not only led to the impairment of the political system but they undermined democracy itself.

The state from a supporter of the citizen became a persecutor of the weak, the excluded, the victims of the crisis.

We are restoring and deepening every democratic institution, every social established right.

We support and protect individual rights and civil liberties, the social rule of law.

We are introducing a new doctrine concerning the security, freedoms, rights and the relations between the Police and the Citizen.

The police will not have the role of suppressing popular protests, but will guarantee protection from crime and public safety.

In this context:

We are restoring the institution of the neighborhood police officer.

We are upgrading and modernizing police training, their status and their working conditions.

We are changing the title of the EYP (National Intelligence Service) to National Sovereignty Protection, with exclusive responsibility for external security, not the internal one, which continues to lie with the special civil protection services.

With the new government for the first time in our country a simple Immigration Directorate is converted to a Ministry like in all European countries.

The immigration issue for the first time is established as it should be in a state that operates according to the rule of law, namely as an issue of overall management with a uniform strategy by the relevant ministry that oversees the relevant portfolio.

Our goal is a uniform policy on these critical issues with an emphasis on the integration, the protection and the respect of human rights and the strengthening of social cohesion.

The primary objective of the new Portfolio is the immediate enactment of the Law concerning citizenship for second generation children.

The absence of a legal framework for these children for the last two years has excluded from the procedures of granting citizenship the most integrated part of the immigrants, the children who have linked their lives and their education to our country.

The issue of immigration flows, of course, does not only concern Greece.

It is a universal and European issue and for this reason it cannot only be addressed through national solutions.

A European coordination is urgently and immediately required.

It is urgent to promote a European immigration and asylum policy based on the respect for human rights, but also on the shouldering and sharing of the responsibility by all Member States of the EU, by introducing immediately solidarity measures in the host countries.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen Members of Parliament

There is can be no institutional and productive reconstruction without a great and courageous reform of the tax system.

The reduced tax revenues during the decades of 1990 and 2000 was the main reason for the inability of the country to reduce its external debt.

Even during the time when the Greek economy was running with growth rates of around 4%, our debt remained stuck at 100% of GDP, which means in absolute figures it was actually increasing.

And the responsibility for this of course did not lie with the employees and the pensioners but with the economic elite and the upper layers of the entrepreneurs who never bore the weights that they should have.

The period of the crisis and of the Memorandum deepened the taxpaying inequality in an unprecedented way and exhausted the usual suspects with the increase of the direct as well as indirect taxation.

Tax justice is an unknown term for Greece and the constitutional requirement for a proportional tax burden remains a dead letter.

The new government commits from this podium to put an end to this economic and social absurdity, the irrationality and the injustice.

Every citizen and every business will contribute to the common weights depending on their ability to contribute, as expressly stipulated by the Constitution.

We pledge to create and adopt a stable, simple and fair tax system that will equally distribute the weights and will also create a sense of security which is necessary for the long-term strategic investments.

Specifically:

We will establish a uniform and progressive tax scale without exceptions and asterisks thus shifting the burden to the high and very high incomes.

We are introducing a tax-free threshold at 12000 E.

We are moving ahead with the recording of property in Greece and abroad, through the property register, which will provide a clear picture of the ability of citizens and businesses to pay taxes.

We will abolish the ENFIA (Unified Property Tax) starting from 2015 and we will replace it with a large property tax.

However, we urge the citizens in these circumstances and given the suffocating pressures that we are under to respond to the national effort and pay the last tax installments of 2014.

We are strengthening the audit mechanisms by investing in the ongoing staff training and in the upgrading of the IT structures.

We are adopting strict measures in order to audit tax administration and we are imposing strict penalties for those who violate their duty.

 

We are putting an end to the industry of gratuitous amendments and exceptions.

  Any change in tax law will from now on be immediately coded as it will be the responsibility of the relevant departments.

The major reform of the tax system, is the most important precondition for the growth impetus needed by the Greek economy as well as in order to relieve employees, pensioners and the middle classes.

However, time will be required.

But restarting the economy and the relief of victims of the crisis is an issue that we must address immediately.

Without delays, without negligence, without wavering.

The need to strengthen public revenues is equally immediate.

The arrears of individuals towards the public sector are almost 72 billion euros, from about 30 billion in 2009.

  This is a bleeding that creates insurmountable difficulties and undermines our negotiating power, independence of the country and showcases the total failure of the Memoranda.

For this reason, we are immediately adopting measures to settle the arrears towards public and pension funds.

We will introduce one hundred instalments to facilitate the payment of the owed sums, without bureaucratic conditions and slow procedures.

We are immediately abolishing the regulation that turns, unconstitutionally, the offense of non-payment of debts towards the public sector to permanent ones, in order to stop the humiliation of debtors that are daily drawn to detention centers.

The law will be applied, but it will be applied with all the legal safeguards that protect established rights.

We are bringing back all the legal guarantees that protect from the enforced application at the expense of the property of citizens and we are stopping the emergency status imposed by the memorandum governments against small and medium incomes.

  Because democracy and rights cannot operate in a la carte fashion, they cannot be limited, they cannot be mutilated.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen Members of Parliament

In the context of the institutional reconstruction and economic reboot a central role is played by the reconstruction of the labor protection framework and the restoration of the rights of workers.

The five years of the memorandum strengthened and deepened the earlier trend of deregulation of the labor market, thus creating conditions of working middle ages for almost all levels of employees.

It was one of the central goals of the memorandum program which was rejected through the verdict of the Greek people.

The new government is determined to put an end to policies that allow the unaccountability of employers, the extreme exploitation, the humiliation of employees who in recent years saw their incomes being cut, their rights being eroded, their lives being destroyed in the name of a policy that believes that the competitiveness of an economy depends on the level of wages and the degree of labor market deregulation.

We reject this notion.

The competitiveness of the Greek economy cannot rely on cheap and without rights work, but on innovation, high technology and the quality of the goods and the services.

Based on this premise we are committed to promote in close cooperation with the International Labour Organisation, the ILO,

the immediate restoration of free collective negotiations,

the restoration of the extensibility of the collective agreements and the three-year periods,

the establishment of a rigorous framework for the protection of collective redundancies,

the restoration of the institution of arbitration.

Our goal is to strengthen the bargaining power of workers and the reversal of the neoliberal path of depreciating the working world.

In this we remain adamant.

We also remain adamant on the issue of separating workers based on age criteria.

The discrimination and segregation against people under 25 which are training the next generation of workers in servitude are coming to an end.

Absolute equality for all workers, as required by the logic, ethics and values of the world of work.

Equal pay for equal work is our principle and to this principle we will remain faithful.

The same applies concerning our commitment to increase the minimum wage to 751 E,

which, however,  will take place gradually until 2016, in order to ensure the smooth transition of the real economy

and in order for the social partners to adjust , whose agreement we will seek in the procedure to be followed.

Immediately the special program of work recovery commences by reallocating the funds from the Ministry of Labor,

so that in a four-year period hundreds of thousands of new jobs will be created in the private, public and social sectors of the economy.

This program is an innovative policy that proves the turn of the new government,

We leave behind us the perception that wishes for growth to be based on deregulation and we adopt the concept that wishes for growth to be based on employment and on its reinforcement.

The new work recovery program will not only immediately reduce unemployment but it will allow for the social security funds to take a breath,

it will promote the  growth of the Greek economy and will strengthen the position of the employees overall.

Of course, there will be an acceleration and expansion of the program following the conclusion of the agreement with the European partners.

Moreover, we seek for this agreement to allow the prioritized use of resources from the Juncker growth package for the actions concerning labor recovery.

This priority is also shared by our European partners as well as they are well aware of the fact that rampant unemployment is a time bomb in the foundations of our common European house.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen Members of Parliament,

All of the above constitute the framework within which the National Plan for the Productive  Reconstruction must operate.

Support for SMEs, protection of workers,

respect and protection of the environment,

sweeping reform of civil administration,

a stable tax system

and a determined fight against corruption of the intertwining corrupted interests and the squandering of public money,

they are the principles on which we have to found our new endeavor.

But none of these will be sufficient if the Greek economy continues to be stuck in the bottomless pit of the unsustainable debt and of the obligation to produce irrational primary surpluses.

It is precisely for this reason that our negotiations with our European partners must reach an agreement concerning the reduction of the debt.

It is exactly for this reason that a new social contract with Europe acquires a central importance.

    Without this new agreement the country will be doomed to wallow in the recessionary spiral, into the trap of deflation, disinvestment and poverty.

The memorandum program failed.

We all know it now.

What we need now is an agreement that will unleash the potential of the Greek economy and will help to implement pluralistic economic activities in the sectors of energy,

tourism, shipping, agricultural production, industry, processing, communications.

 

Actions that will combine

• The small, medium and large private initiative as well as incentives for foreign investments and transnational agreements, for growth partnerships with the participation of the Greek public sector, always within the framework of the European regulations.

• with a strong public investment program that should not be included in the deficit, as our French and Italian partners are also requesting

• and finally with forms of social economy and collaboration that will build a new model of economic activity based on networks and horizontal organization, beyond the narrow context of free market competition.

Particularly, concerning the private initiatives and investments I would like to clarify the following:

The new government wishes for and will support private investments that can play a key role in the effort of the production reconstruction.

What the government will not do is to continue the crime of selling off public property,

in order to fund an unsustainable debt or to cover current financing needs.

Too many crimes have been committed against the public interest.

In this context we are committed not to bestow nor sell off our networks and the country’s infrastructure which constitute a national capital.

We are not selling off our natural and mineral wealth.

Because utilizing our national capital and public property is different to selling it off.

Under this perspective, any proposal regarding the utilization of public property will be specifically examined and promoted to the extent that there guarantees concerning the respect of the labor and environmental laws as well as a business plan proving that it will function in the public interest.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen Members of Parliament

In order to develop the proposed activities it is necessary to redesign the operation of the banking system as well as to establish a growth bank that will support innovative and growth initiatives.

As part of the reorganization and restructuring of the banking system, well thought-out and designed interventions are necessary.

Specifically it is necessary:

• To amend the law regarding the FSF, so that the public sector can exercise without restrictions its rights on the systemic Banks that were recapitalized with money belonging to the Greek people, by taking of course into account as well the rights of the private shareholders.

• To change the operating model, so that the banks undertake the fulfillment of quantitative and qualitative targets.

We want for the banks to serve the economy, growth and investment.

That is their role.

Especially in the case of Greece, the banks can play an important role in tackling corruption, intertwining interests, tax evasion, tax fraud, illegal transactions.

 

• To establish an intermediate public body for the management of the red and business loans that on one hand will protect the over indebted households and the small and medium entrepreneurs and on the other will ensure that the bank balances will not be burdened.

 

Until the enactment of the legislation and the publication of the necessary Ministerial Decisions concerning the implementation of measures regulating red loans, we forbid any auction of the primary residence as well as the transfer of mortgages without the consent of the debtor to unrecognized Banking institutions, to Greek and foreign speculators .

• Finally, we consider it absolutely necessary and are moving ahead with the establishment of a growth bank, in order to overcome the financial suffocation and to effectively facilitate the productive reconstruction of the country.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen Members of Parliament

The memoranda policy of the last five years was based on the logic of horizontal cuts.

The second victim following the wages was the welfare state.

Within the last five years the institutions of social security, of the national health system, of the Welfare system, of the Education system and the cultural institutions were demolished.

The new government brings with it a new understanding regarding the role of the welfare state which has to balance the inequities which are de facto created by the free market.

 

The welfare state is not just the aggregate of the institutions that protect those who are excluded by the free market,

 but on the contrary it guarantees conditions of prosperity and dignity for the entire population.

Its operation is by definition one of equality.

 

It is precisely for this reason that the new government places great importance on its support and expansion.

Our first priority in this area is to rescue the social security system which suffered a huge blow, especially following the criminal PSI which aimed at rescuing the banks by loading the weight of the cut from the Greek bonds onto the Greek pension funds.

This case will be investigated thoroughly and specific responsibilities will be assigned.

You should have no doubt of this.

The assignment of responsibility, however, cannot save social security.

Only targeted and well-designed interventions can achieve this goal.

The first commitment of the government is that we are not going to implement what the Finance Minister of the previous government promised in his notorious email.

There will be no increase in age limits, no reduction in the main and supplementary pensions.

We will preserve the public – redistributive – universal character of social security with respect to the legally established pension rights.

The first measure in order to support those on low pensions will be the reestablishment of the thirteenth pension, as a Christmas gift, at the end of 2015, for those who receive less than 700 euros per month.

These commitments do not mean that we are not aware of the extremely critical and difficult situation that the social security system in our country is facing because of all the previous governments.

Its financing now depends on state fund injections and this is a constant threat to its viability.

For this reason we are setting up a Fund of National Wealth and Social Security where we will transfer income from the exploitation of the natural and mineral wealth and of the property of the public sector.

From this fund, we will strengthen the looted reserves of the pension funds, we will ensure solidarity between the generations and within the generations.

 

We are well aware that we are facing a difficult equation but we are determined for reasons of national dignity to solve it.

And we will be successful.

The same obviously applies to the Health system, as the memorandum reforms there developed into a real healthcare tragedy.

Our primary mission is on the one hand to heal the wounds caused to the body of society by the memoranda policies,

in order to terminate the existence of the institutional and functional exclusion of the majority of the citizens from access to health

and on the other hand to implement a plan to eradicate the chronic ailments of the Health System.

Day by day, month by month, we will construct a public, free, quality health system for all the citizens of the country, with our tools being the halt of the flow of public funds towards the private sector,

the substantial support of the health structures in human and physical infrastructure and the democratic restructuring of the management system.

Our priority, however, is the fight against the corruption concerning the pharmaceutical and medical supplies.

In Education our goals are similar.

Egalitarianism, universal access, a high level of education.

Education ought to play a central role in the great national effort for the reconstruction of the country.

 

This is one of the competitive advantages of Greece despite the fact that the primary, secondary and higher education have suffered massive blows during the whole previous period.

The new government will start a long and meaningful dialogue in order to change the entire institutional framework and all three tiers which suffer deeply.

And it will do so within a four-year period.

 

Nothing will take place by surprises and stealth.

We are immediately, however, abolishing the choice of topics for the promotion examinations by 50% from the topics’ Bank.

While concerning the higher education we are repealing the provisions concerning the institution Councils

as the institution has failed spectacularly and has violated the constitutional mandate of self-rule.

We place special emphasis on promoting Research by appointing a relevant deputy Minister.

Scientific research and innovation are key to the great effort for social and productive reconstruction and the resources used for this do not constitute expenditure, but long-term investment.

The Government’s objective therefore is not only to change the institutional framework that will ensure the independent operation of researchers and research centers,

  but to develop a long-term plan so that the thousands of young researchers currently employed at universities and research centers abroad return to the country.

This bleeding must stop as it negatively affects the growth prospects of the Greek economy and it undermines the national reconstruction effort.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen Members of Parliament.

The recovery of the dignity of the country and the people also requires the development of an active, multidimensional foreign policy that will aim to:

 

Firstly to actively defend the interests of the Greek people and its territorial integrity, its sovereignty and the sovereign rights of Greece bilaterally as well as in all international organizations in which the country participates.

Secondly to promote – with our neighbors – the peaceful settlement of disputes on the basis of international law, and to build trust.

Particularly important in this context, is the commitment of the Government to support bi-communal talks in order to solve the Cyprus problem, based on the UN resolutions,

In order reunify Cyprus in the form of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with a single sovereignty, a single citizenship and a single international personality.

Also significant is to come up, in the context of talks under the UN auspices, with a mutually acceptable solution for the dispute over the name of FYROM, on the basis of a composite name with a geographical qualifier for all uses.

 

Thirdly, our foreign policy will aim to highlight the regional role of Greece as a pole of peace and stability in the triangle of North Africa – Middle East – Ukraine, where in recent years crises have intensified.

Removed from Cold War mentalities, dead end trade wars and so-called “humanitarian interventions” that have proved their failure.

And firmly defending the decisions of the UN and the construction of a comprehensive and sustainable European security architecture, particularly at a time when we need a coherent treatment of the devastating phenomenon of jihadism which is spreading.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen Members of Parliament,

By concluding the Program statements of the social salvation government, I could not miss a moral responsibility not only towards our people but also towards history and towards all the peoples of Europe who fought against fascism.

It constitutes a historical obligation of the new government to claim back the Occupation Loan and the compensation.

It is our duty towards history.

And a central role in this claim by the new government will be given to the National Committee and the emblematic figure of our national resistance Manolis Glezos.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen Members of Parliament

 

The wind of a new unity of our people removed the seeds of a new division in which unfortunately some thought to invest.

I want at this point to thank the chairman of the Independent Greeks, for his unwavering perseverance and determination concerning the formation and progress of the Government of national salvation.

But I also want to invite each MP individually, even those outside of the governmental majority to support the negotiation, to support Greece in this crucial battle.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen Members of Parliament.

We are witnessing historical moments.

During the dramatic developments of the last days, the final word was expressed by the Greek people.

It did not assign responsibility.

It deposited its soul.

It did not authorize anyone.

It took its fate into its own hands.

It did not vote against.

It honored the previous generations that resisted and supported this country

and safeguarded the hope for the coming generations.

It did not simply defy the blackmails and the ultimatums.

It stood up.

This people only deserves admiration.

It deserves to walk proudly, it deserves to live with dignity.

The current government can simply be the voice of this people.

Regarding the honor, history and culture that this people carry in their luggage, we can only be its will.

This is why we are not going to negotiate our history.

This is why we are not going to negotiate the dignity of this people.

These are sacred and unnegotiable values.

We are flesh out of the flesh of this people,

we originate from the pages of the history of this people,

it is this people that we will serve.

 

We are each word of the Constitution of this country.

It is on this Constitution that we took our oath,

It is what we will serve.

Thank you.