Greece is on the path to recovery, and whatever the old establishment does to retain its privileges, the country will go ahead, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said at Chania on Crete.
In a speech ahead of the Europarliamentary and regional elections on May 26, Tsipras charged past governments with arrogance “for acting as if the country belonged to them, for decades.” His party’s electoral win in 2015 proved that the Greek people voted for “the decisive step to raise the country again despite the unprecedented difficulties it found itself facing.”
Despite the attacks from both within and without the country, he said, and the undermining from the main opposition party New Democracy (ND), “we did not falter, we did not fall in love suddenly with the destructive recipe of the (loan) memoranda, but we made a necessarily difficult compromise in the summer of 2015.” The target was to lead the country out of its crisis, the premier said, and it justified the result, “because in August 2018 we led the country out of the memoranda.”
Tsipras acknowledged that he “fully understand(s) the difficulties every family, store and business faces, but I know and you do too that history has taken a turn” for the better, with the economy reviving, and the injustices of the people being gradually put right.
He charged the old political establishment of trying to use the media to distort the news, adding that “anything they may say, the Greek people knows us better. But, he stressed, reality is what will influence the elections, not propaganda or mudslinging.
The prime minister also attacked ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis in particular, saying “the scion who grew up in the grand families and who handles the millions in offshore funds for the family businesses cannot understand what it means for someone to get 150 euros per month to subsidise his rent.” These positive measures are seen as gifts and favours by the opposition, he charged.
Among other issues, Tsipras also mentioned the infrastructural works related to Chania that were funded either through the EU or Greece, including the linking of Crete to the mainland power grid, the road and antiflooding works, the support to farmers after the catastrophic rainfall, and other regional works.
On a greater regional level, he spoke of the strategic East Med energy project, calling energy “a bridge of peace, dialogue and co-development in the region” and called on Turkey to join Greece in a peaceful future, joining Greece at the table to discuss the delineation of the continental shelf. “We are here to defend – and we shall defend – our sovereign rights in any manne necessary, either by ourselves or with the help of our allies,” he said, both in the East Mediterranean and in Cyprus.
“We Greeks have put to action, these past four years, our vision for another kind of Europe,” Tsipras said, and cited the Spanish elections as an example of how southern Europe leads in this. “The forces of solidarity and democracy are still here and can still win elections,” he said, adding that “the first word in the future of Greece and Europe should be turned over to younger generations,” who will turn the tables over on May 26.