Συνέντευξη της Υφυπουργού στη Δημοσιογράφο κ. Johanna Melen για την Δημόσια Ραδιοφωνία της Σουηδίας
Answers to Mrs Johanna Melen
How do you assess the current political situation?
1) The citizens of this country have suffered 8 years of severe fiscal supervision and austerity. We paid for a cost that was not at all corresponding to the industriousness of our people. Great part of our youth had to go out in the streets to protest for their lives and then was forced to seek for jobs abroad, leaving our country in the prime of their age and productivity. Back in our homeland their friends and relatives had to shut down their stores or seeked for jobs for a salary of 400 euros monthly or lived off the salary or pension of the only one income earning member of their family.
The previous governments, either of the Social Democrats or the right-wing, before the crisis, or within the early years of the crisis, have not been able to help the people and the country to put in place the right policy so they could find the way out of this very poor condition. In my opinion, this is because, if one is part of the problem for so many decades, he can not suddenly change to become a part of the solution.
Of course, in this situation, the attitude of international economic circles that have a significant impact on the European Union’s policy, which mainly care to satisfy their own interests, has contributed negatively.
The co-operation of the left of SYRIZA and the movement of democratic citizens of ANEL have managed to find a way out of this dramatic situation. We negotiated hard with the European partners, we formed a financial agreement, and so we achieved for the first time government stability. We are in the fourth year of this government’s life, while in the past years, governments have been dissolved every one or two years. The banking system has been stabilized, and the state budgets are constantly closing every year with financial surpluses that give us new opportunities.
The culmination of these efforts was the August of 2018. Thanks to the sacrifices of the majority of Greek citizens – who I want to emphasize: that many of them in the country or abroad still suffer, have not been justified – … this government managed to take the country out of close surveillance with the agreement of all our partners.
So now, in my opinion, we have a year in front of us, until October 2019, when our mandate ends, in order to complete the work that has so much been supported by Greek society in a much stronger way than the rates we have recorded in the electoral process we have had to do today.
Already the very small minimum wage is being abolished, in many sectors collective labor contracts are re-established and wages are upgraded, while we are optimistic that pensions will not be cut by the new year, despite the fact that previous cuts for 2019 have been budgeted.
In addition, now is the time that necessary policies for the everyday life of the citizen can be enforced. In the Ministry in which I serve, for example, currently under the responsibility of Minister Al. Charitsis, money is given to the Municipalities to execute works in Municipalities all over Greece, which have been left behind over the years, such as the maintenance of schools, playgrounds or for the reconstruction of water supply networks or flood protection works.
In my own area, in a few days we will vote in the Hellenic Parliament for a new legislation on Gender Equality in all areas of society, as well as measures to combat violence against women. These issues have not been dealt with in previous years, despite the fact that the economic crisis has exacerbated the problem.
Furthermore, my team and I are working intensively to vote on a law that will simplify the process of issuing a series of public documents that citizens every day need for schools, their families, to marry or to open a new business. Ultimately, the goal is to have everything the citizen needs, done through the internet.
In a nutshell, in the first three years we managed to get out of the economic crisis, which was a success over a very big negative problem that we did not create. Now, we are doing the positive work of the implementation of our own government program.
What do you think about the Prespes agreement?
2) This government has worked intensively on a serious national issue that has been open in recent decades, with no solution that satisfies the historical truth and the rights of our people found. I must not nullify the efforts of anyone, at least from the Greek side. Given the circumstances, the protagonists succeeded quite positively in many parts of this deal. But there are still serious problems that are "red lines" for the party I represent, not now, but from the very beginning of its foundation several years ago. Such issues arise from the failure to observe the basic term "erga omnes" for the uses of the name of the country, especially in regard of the indication of nationality and language in the identity cards of the citizens of our neighboring State. Whatever nationalist centers are seeking to be established as part of the Agreement cannot be accepted. More work is needed, which has not been yet done, and because of this, peace and cooperation in the region may be endangered in the immediate and distant future.
I also have to note that the government of the neighboring country of the former south-eastern Yugoslavia does not show the proper consistency and credibility, not even in the agreed steps it has to make in order for us to trust it. The ambiguity in the phrasing of the articles to be introduced into their Constitution is characteristic. They must know that no one is naïve in our days.
What will be the political consequences of the agreement?
3) The agreement has been signed at the level of foreign ministers and, as you can see, has absolutely no political consequence within Greece. Even in the form that exists so far, it requires many and serious obligations for actions from our neighboring country – and they must be all completed in a fair way – in order for the matter to return to Greece for discussion in the Hellenic Parliament.
At present, the matter is only being discussed in the Parliament of Skopje.
Until then, the uninterrupted work of each minister and deputy minister of this government – and that is what we are doing – is aimed on how to be able to find good jobs for young people, women and men in Greece, especially for those who have left abroad, in order to come back soon.