Greek PM Speaks on Rural Development, has Tiff With Reporters

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday spoke to farmers’ representatives while he had a tiff with reporters who were covering the meeting.

Tsipras met with farmer unionists and local authorities and farmers in Mesara of Crete. After his introductory speech, he asked reporters to leave the room. Some of the farmers’ representatives asked that reporters remain in the room and listen to what the prime minister says so they can report on the meeting. Some of them said that if reporters leave the room, they will leave too.

The prime minister got irate and asked reporters to leave. “I have met with farmers three times at Maximos Mansion and all talks were private,” he said. “I want to have an honest dialogue with the farmers… this is not a television show.”

When some farmers insisted that reporters stay, Tsipras banged his hand on the desk and replied, “If you want a show, go outside and have a show.”

After reporters finally departed, the prime minister spoke about the efforts of the Ministry of Rural Development to build on existing tools to provide a comprehensive plan for the reconstruction of rural economy.

The main tool, the prime minister said, is the 2014-2020 Rural Development program, including European Union funds amounting to 4.7 billion euros. Along with state private funds, farmers will have a total of 6 billion euros as resources to work on the growth of rural economy.

The funds, he noted, will enable the government to implement a series of programs, especially for young farmers, organic farming and product processing.

Through the Rural Development Program, several projects will be launched that are necessary for the organization of irrigation and water resources management. As regards the dams, and particularly that of Faneromeni, Tsipras stressed that with the help of pertinent ministries they will proceed with the Platy River diversion project.