Greece will be the pleasant surprise of the Eurozone, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Sunday during the PM’s press conference at the 84th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF).
Mitsotakis did not agree with some pessimistic forecasts in regards to the global economy’s prospects, adding that Greece will achieve its target for high growth rates.
The Greek Prime Minister noted that the situation inherited by his government is not great. However, he added that it would be possible to implement his government’s pledges for tax cuts because of an overperformance in revenues during the last two months.
”This shows that something has changed,” Mitsotakis added characteristically.
Early repayment of Greece’s loans to the IMF
The Prime Minister announced on Sunday that Greece will place a request to pay off its International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans during the next Eurogroup meeting on Friday.
”The government intends to pay the expensive IMF loans early and the finance minister will make the relevant request at the Eurogroup on Friday”, Mitsotakis announced.
“We will be saving approximately 75 million euros a year from this action alone,” he said, noting that lower interest rates facilitate the government’s policy and allow Greece to borrow at better rates.
The vote of the Greek expatriates
Referring to his statement yesterday that Greece will introduce for the first time in history the ”absentee ballot” for those expats who live abroad, Mitsotakis noted that he was not giving expatriate Greeks any additional rights nor enlarging the electorate.
“We are simply facilitating those who are already registered on an electoral roll to be able to vote in their place of residence. We are also examining the possibility of a postal vote,” the PM said.
The new electoral system
On the issue of his government’s intention to abolish the ”simple proportional representation” electoral system that the previous left-wing government of SYRIZA introduced, Mitsotakis said that he did not wish to link issues relating to election law with the changes to the country’s Constitution, noting that these are “two separate issues”.
However, he repeated that the simple proportional representation system is “disastrous,” adding that he would, therefore, propose an electoral system that would ensure governability.
“A party with 40 percent of the vote has a right to govern,” the PM said.
Greek – Turkish relations
“If Mr. Erdogan would like to truly restart Greek-Turkish relations then he must prove this in practice,” Mitsotakis said when asked about the situation of the bilateral relations between Greece and Turkey.
The Greek PM confirmed that he intends to have the first meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly later this month, adding that his own intention is to engage in talks “because this is the only way to find mutually acceptable solutions”.
”We come to the negotiation with the arguments provided to us by international law, which is on our side,” the Greek Premier noted.
Regarding Turkey’s actions in the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), Mitsotakis said that he has already raised the issue at all his international meetings, adding that this is a European issue.
Referring to the issue of the increased migrant flows from Turkey to Greece during the last several months, the PM noted that this is an issue of the EU itself, not just a bilateral topic between Athens and Ankara.
Mitsotakis reminded that Turkey had been given a great deal of money, almost six billion euros, to assist in managing migration flows.
(With information from AMNA)