Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras presented a “vision” for Greece in the post-bailout period, during the annual state-of-the-economy speech given by Greek premiers at the opening of the International Trade Fair.
“This is the first time that I can say that in 2015 we made difficult decisions and we were justified,” he said, defending his decision in 2015 to concede to the country’s lenders’ demands, and step back from the anti-austerity, anti-bailout and spending-laden, the “Thessaloniki program” he had delivered at the same venue, when he was still the Opposition leader.
This time round, he presented a “Fair Growth”, program pledging to lower contributions by self-employed professionals and farmers, as well as to reinstate stricter labor market regulations.
He also promised to minimise “red-tape”, to simplify processes to license new business, and present measures to speed up the justice system.
Tsipras even referred to an emphasis on finally creating a unified and functional cadastre (land registry) in Greece, one of the few, if not the only, country in the advanced world without such an entity.
Tsipras formally announced a return of (obligatory) collective bargaining agreements in the country, and the principle of extending such agreements when the benefit leans towards wage-earners. The measure had been repeatedly cited as set for reinstatement by a bevy of ministers in the previous period leading up to his address.
He also confirmed that the government wants to raise the minimum monthly wage scale, as of 2019, while including a caveat: “following the conclusion of consultations with all involved parties”.
In a bid to reverse what’s been called Greece’s version of “brain drain”, Tsipras promised subsidized job spots for 10,000 scientists and high-skilled young professionals, while even pointing to some of the sectors the state will subsidize: manufacturing, agri-business and “new technologies”.