Greece turned the page in 2019 and survived several crises without the government losing track of reforms, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Friday in his opening address at the ruling New Democracy (ND) 14th party congress outside Athens.
Mitsotakis referred to the government's achievements during his speech at the Metropolitan Expo in Spata, east of Athens, listing both the recent measures to relieve the pressure of energy bills on households and businesses - with a particular focus on the middle class and the burden it is shouldering - and the challenges also posed by the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
"We went through several crises, from Evros and the Aegean to the coronavirus pandemic and the energy crisis. We must unite citizens under a common sense of security," the ND leader urged, "to give Greeks a sense of self-confidence again, make them proud." Part of this entailed "reviewing our work humbly," he said, and keeping the focus on supporting Greek citizens.
The premier underlined the improvement in economic numbers, with growth ending at 8.3% in 2021, the third best in Europe, while unemployment dropped by 4% and one of Greece's creditors, the International Monetary Fund, "left Greece two years ahead of schedule" after the repayment in full of that part of the debt.
"Despite constant crises, we are implementing consistently everything we have committed to," Mitsotakis asserted, while foreign investments exceeded 5.5 billion euros and international credit agencies are upgrading Greece "in the midst of an unprecedented storm." Greek democracy "is more resilient and our society more mature," following the repeated challenges, he added.
The PM said the government's concern was prosperity of each citizen, but warned that "there is a lot to be done in the next 12 months and in another 4 years," referring to the elections in 2023 and a second term. The government, he said, was focused on "exiting the state of enhanced surveillance and achieving investment grade in 2023, a feasible target."
The congress opened with an address by visiting Cyprus Republic President Nikos Anastasiades, who spoke of the close ties between Greece and Cyprus and their commitment to a better-united Europe. He underlined that the two countries are strategic partners and guarantee stability in the wider region of the East Mediterranean and the Arab Gulf as well.