Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras launched a full-scale attack on main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) on Wednesday, in his address to the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) annual general meeting.
Accusing SYRIZA of behaving arrogantly, he said the party was attempting to make it impossible to govern.
“The main opposition failed to overturn the government or to trigger early elections. Now it is trying to provoke ungovernability. It says ‘don’t think of governing without asking us.’ It has acquired the arrogance of power before coming into power. The electorate’s statement of confidence, however, was given in the elections of 2012,” he stressed.
The country could not head to general elections after every local or European election, the prime minister added, and underlined that the main opposition’s demands “created a permanent ungovernability.” He also pointed out that the parties in the coalition government, while suffering losses, still had more combined voter support than SYRIZA, which had also lost support relative to the 2012 elections.
“I can answer why that is: because people abhor an absence of government. We will continue. If [SYRIZA] wants to contribute, well and good, but we will not allow them to create ungovernability,” he said.
Turning to the economy, the prime minister underlined that Greece was finally starting to recover after six years of recession.
“International organizations predict growth rates of 2.9 pct this year, 3.7 pct next year and a 10 pct reduction of unemployment by 2018… The economic climate index reached 99.1 in May. This is the highest level since August 2008 when the crisis began,” he pointed out.
The prime minister stressed that if Greece continued to do the right things and stayed on the right path, things will get better and that this positive outlook confirmed by the strictest judges of all, the international markets.
“They received us earlier than was expected,” Samaras said, underlining that confidence in Greece was restored and was back to stay. The public discourse was shifting from what had been done until now to what must be done from here on, he added.
“Greece is looking toward a hopeful future. We are no longer talking about whether or not we will default and whether or not we will stay in the euro. That discussion is over. Now we are talking about growth and competitiveness and exports, with healthy enterprise and above all, with stability that some can still undermine. In short, the culture in Greece is changing,” Samaras said.
Outlining his priorities, the prime minister emphasized the need to revise the Constitution in order to boost governability, stability and seriousness in politics. He also presented his goals for the country, saying these hinged on fighting bureaucracy, reforming the justice system, and reducing taxes, which he said was his “dream for Greece.”
He said the government will announce a road-map for reducing the tax burden in the autumn, while noting that lower taxes and lower energy costs were essential for improving competitiveness.
The prime minister also pledged a more “compassionate” tax collection mechanism that dealt less harshly with those unable to pay, promising to “correct injustices that were made,” as well as promising full access to hospital care for the uninsured from June 1.
“We have a plan that works,” Samaras stressed, pointing out that productive investments were now unblocking and some 37.6 billion euros in foreign capital were coming to Greece, while stressing that Greek businessmen must take the lead since the right conditions now existed.