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PM Mitsotakis: We have no more to give farmers, gov’t exceeded their expectations

PM Mitsotakis: We have no more to give farmers, gov’t exceeded their expectations


The government supports the fair demands of Greek farmers

The government supports the fair demands of Greek farmers, but has exhausted all possibilities of measures to help them under the budget constraints, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in an interview on Star TV on Monday evening.

“The government has responded to several of the demands of farmers, recognizing that they are justified,” Mitsotakis said. He added however, “We do not have any more to give. And I believe farmers recognize this and they know very well that the government has probably exceeded their expectations, especially on the issue of the electricity” pricing. The premier recognized that several chronic issues – such as cheap imports passed off as Greek – were not going to be resolved easily, and several other concerns were also shared with other European Union countries, but “there are structural issues that will keep us busy for a long time to come.”

Regarding the issue of high pricing, he said that the government had intervened and that inflation had dropped, but prices were still much higher than they were three years ago and more needed to be done. Speaking of the pricing issue, he said, “Its structural resolution is only through a stable and sustainable rise in salaries and disposable income,” and noted that already the minimum monthly wage had risen by 20% and most wages ranged between 1,000 and 3,000 euros. “This is the result of a rapidly developing economy leading to the deescalation of unemployment,” he noted, adding that as long as unemployment drops, “a worker has more of a bargaining power and the more businesses are forced to raise salaries to attract the workers they want.” He also said that it is not acceptable for such great differences to exist in sales prices of products, which should be sold at similar prices within the EU.

Addressing the issue of lack of affordable homes for rent, Mitsotakis said that there were programs to help owners of shut apartments to fix them up and rent them out after upgrading them in energy efficiency. The government raised the rent bonus for students, he added, while he revealed that there were plans to raise the minimum for the Golden Visa program higher, to turn investors to more expensive real estate: “The limits for Golden Visa will rise to 800,000 euros for all large urban centers and the islands, and, probably reach 400,000 euros for the rest of Greece, so that investments on a Golden Visa be for much more expensive properties that do not compete with the average apartment or house which a Greek family needs to rent.” The program calls for investments in exchange for residence permits.

Mitsotakis said there were a lot of reforms were still left to be done, and some will come with obstacles but the government will still pursue them. “We have no time to lose, and we will continue at this fast clip for the entire four-year term. Because we have a lot of things to do and a very heavy government schedule, which we must implement.”

The premier also addressed critics alleging censorship and lack of freedom of expression, asking rhetorically, “Do you believe we have an issue of (free) expression and opinion and freedom of the press in Greece? I would say the reverse is true.” He added that “I am not saying our democracy is perfect. I am saying that in the annual European Commission report on the rule of law, which provides a criterion, there are notations. Some of them are included in the European Parliament’s resolution,” which was passed recently and criticized the government for censorship, among other things. He said the issue was raised by opposite parties who wanted to attack the European People’s Party and him specifically. He made particular mention of party leaders Stefanos Kasselakis of main opposition SYRIZA and Nikos Androulakis of PASOK-KINAL, sayidng “It’s one thing to criticize, and it’s another to direct yoru Eurodeputies to vote against the interests of a country just before you want to attack Mitsotakis. That crosses a red line, and it is would be good if they took this into account.”

The PM spoke also of several achievements of the government, including the same-sex civil marriage law, the support to state universities, the birth bonus to parents, and the introduction of the ability to vote online, among other issues.

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