By Penelope Galliou

The 87th TIF and the Prime Minister’s speech at the Vellideo Conference Center reminded nothing of the glamor and celebratory atmosphere of past years, except perhaps the corona virus period. After the postponement of the prime minister’s presence at the TIF last weekend, due to the disastrous Daniel weather in central Greece, the program and the atmosphere in Thessaloniki were turned upside down. Limited audience, absence of the solemn atmosphere, which has always characterized the established prime ministerial speech and a shadow, from the disasters in Thessaly, visibly looming both in the environment and in the style and content of Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ announcements, which however were not limited to necessary measures to deal with the consequences of the recent disaster and to prevent possible new ones. A speech in the context of the TIF, which, as he said almost slogans, was out of the ordinary and for an additional reason: “It will be an unusual TIF with enough “no”” he said, while sending many messages with recipients not only society but and the government itself, for acceleration, “conflicts” and determination for a decisive restart with non-negotiable – as he made it clear – reforms that the country needs to move forward.

From the first minutes of his speech, the prime minister showed that he was determined not to leave anything unanswered, both for what is publicly attributed to him by the opposition and the criticism he made and is making for the government’s management of the disasters in Thessaly, but also for what is behind the scenes. they whisper” about the effectiveness of government officials. “And to those who comment in good faith that “we didn’t start well”, I always answer them “I hear you”. I promise, however, that even if we lose some battles, in the end we will win the war” Kyriakos Mitsotakis emphasized.

During his speech, the prime minister used the first person several times, sending a clear message of determination, that he is not interested in political costs and is determined to break with all the bad words of the past and the pathologies that have plagued the country for decades. “I never hid, I never claimed infallibility and I never gave in to obstacles no matter how insurmountable they seemed” said Kyriakos Mitsotakis, causing loud applause from his audience. He even declared that he was determined to carry out major reforms and, speaking again in a personal tone, he referred to changes “that will certainly “upset” some, but will favor the many. I am not only confronting the expectations of the citizens, I am confronting my very conscience. I have a mandate for major reforms and I am doing them,” he explained.

Indicative of the prime minister’s intentions were the references to phenomena that affect the daily life of the citizen, from the crackdown on tax evasion, to the situation in the National Social Security and its reinforcement with recruitment and logistical infrastructure, the acceleration of the administration of justice, the strengthening of security in citizens, starting with him personally with the reduction of his security as well as of Ministers, MPs and officials, the measures for the family and housing of young people, but also all the financial measures that will relieve public and private workers sector, pensioners and vulnerable social groups. Measures that are part of the declared multi-power modernization of the state, setting as a non-negotiable priority the everyday life of the citizen in all its aspects.

From the beginning of his speech, the prime minister focused on those affected by the floods and fires in Thessaly and Evros, stressing that by visiting these areas he saw first hand the desperation of the people who were faced with natural disasters and pledged that “what we have lost , we will rebuild it together.”

He spoke about an unprecedented test, as within two weeks the country experienced the biggest forest fire and immediately after the biggest flood in its history and underlined that the state will be next to the citizens and how it will do everything, so that “the unequal battle with the climate crisis from becoming a lost battle”. He also pledged that what we have lost as a state and citizens we will rebuild together, better and without the mistakes of the past, with European and national resources.

Mr. Mitsotakis mentioned that in both Thessaly and Evros he heard the anger of the citizens and realized how difficult it is to explain to someone who lost his house that 8 billion tons of water fell. “I saw again both sides of our state. The confusion of responsibilities and the frequent shifting of responsibilities. I saw coordination and heroism in the field that saved thousands of people”, he noted, thanking all the officials of the state apparatus, those who fought in the mud and especially volunteers. “They proved that the mirror of today’s Greece is not the miserable murder of Antonis in Piraeus”, he underlined. In this climate, he announced a series of relief measures for those affected by the disasters they suffered as well as infrastructure projects that will provide solutions to the problems of the disputed areas and institutional interventions in this direction.

​However, the common admission of those who watched the prime minister’s speech in person but also from a distance, as there were few government officials who attended the Vellideo Conference Center, was Kyriakos Mitsotakis, despite the difficult situation and the heavy atmosphere, it worked “encouragingly”, sending the clear message that with planning, hard work and determination obstacles can be overcome and a universal restart can be made.