By Penelope Galliou

After a “busy” weekend at the TIF, the prime minister both with his words and with the style of his speech made it clear in all directions that he is ready for a wider restart, which will come through the reorganization of the state and its structures, but also through conflicts, which he is determined to proceed with, regardless of the political cost. Messages he broadcast both during his regular speech on Saturday evening at Vellideo Conference Center, as well as during the press conference he gave on Sunday, giving a clear plan of movements and initiatives in the economy and society but also at the level of political movements.

“I have no intention of reforming.” With this clear position, the prime minister, during the press interview he gave in the framework of the TIF, closed the corresponding scenarios of restructuring that were fueled by the recent management of theomenia in Thessaly. However, as clear as this first position of Kyriakos Mitsotakis was, the one that followed a few minutes later, when he was asked about the so-called “rotation” of ministers during the formation of the new government, was even more so, stating meaningfully in all directions that no minister he is not immovable. “It is good that ministers are tested in new portfolios at regular intervals. This is exactly what the rotation served. It was not a rotation that happened by chance. I judged – it doesn’t mean I may always have made all the right choices – and I thought a lot about which Minister might serve a particular portfolio. Beyond that, you know, there are no immovable Ministers. Immovable policies may exist, immovable Ministers do not exist,” explained Mr. Mitsotakis.

However, the prime minister responded in a special way to the rumors that they wanted him to move to Brussels to take up a European office before the end of the four years. “I remember a song that says ‘I’m not going anywhere, this is where I’m going to stay'” the Prime Minister said with a sense of humor to add “I have been elected with a high percentage as the Prime Minister of the country. I will honor the trust of the Greek people for the next four years. I can’t imagine a more important job than the one I do for my country. I would much rather represent Greece in Europe than represent Europe in Greece. (…) I have no intention of going anywhere” he concluded categorically.

Referring to the upcoming European elections, the Prime Minister announced that they will be held by a cross-party system without, however, talking about the possibility of dividing the regions. “The elections will be held with a cross, without specifying more details,” he said, while rejecting any change to the electoral law, once again criticizing the simple analogy of SYRIZA and the adventures it led the country to. “Regarding the national elections, it is not my intention to make any changes to the electoral law. The country suffered from the simple proportionality experiment and I think the final tally, I’m not sure it was positive. We needed two elections, while we could have completed the electoral process, with a different composition of the Parliament, if the enhanced proportionality also applied in the first ballot, in May. I do not think that the answer to the extreme or more marginal parties or factions that have entered the Parliament is to increase their percentage of entry into the parliament. I believe that life itself will answer whether these parties will last” he estimated.

Also responding to the possibility of a new arrangement similar to that of the national elections to prevent the candidacy of Kasidiaris in the municipality of Athens, Kyriakos Mitsotakis explained why it is not necessary. “ND had voted for a relevant regulation before the elections. We do not consider that a similar regulation is needed for the issue of self-governing elections for the simple reason that here the Supreme Court does not judge whether someone can be a candidate in the municipal elections, but there is already a provision that if he is convicted in the first instance, he is automatically put on holiday” .

Ahead of his meeting with Tayyip Erdogan, on Wednesday in New York, the prime minister explicitly reiterated Athens’ red lines regarding issues of national sovereignty, stressing that Greece has never changed its strategy towards Turkey, given his will since 2019. that the two countries can talk “to we accept that our issues can only be resolved on the basis of international law and the rules of good neighborliness” he remarked, at the same time expressing the belief that “The Hague is still a long way off” while repeating the constant Greek position that “the issues that have to do with with national sovereignty, the national integrity of the country are issues that will never be put on the negotiating table by me. It’s out of the question.”

However, the message to Tirana and the European perspective of Albania was equally clear, on the occasion of the case of Fredis Beleris, noting that “the deprivation of the possibility for Fredis Beleris to be sworn in as mayor, even with the status of a prisoner, constitutes in our opinion, a clear violation of the rules of the rule of law, creates big problems in our bilateral relations and I think it will have wider consequences if this policy continues, in Albania’s attempt to approach the European family”.

A large part of the prime minister’s positions at the TIF was – as expected – the situation in Thessaly after the catastrophic floods and their management before and after the disaster, appearing in a self-critical mood and determined for radical changes in Civil Protection and announcing a series of changes, such as, among others, the movement of the National Meteorological Service and the National Observatory under the umbrella of Civil Protection. “We have to learn from our mistakes. I never said there weren’t mistakes made in the management of this summer. Now is not the time to talk about them in detail. I’d rather talk to you about what we need to do better so we can be more efficient. For example, in the case of ‘Daniel’, the catastrophic floods, I do not feel that in Civil Protection we have managed and integrated all the important meteorological data that we have at our disposal. That is why one of the first initiatives will be the transfer to the Civil Protection of both the EMY and the National Observatory, so that all the scientific potential of the country can be found under one body,” he announced.

Responding to opposition criticism of the army’s speed of response to the floods, the prime minister was unequivocal. “A lie has been circulated that the army was allegedly slow to intervene. (…) In full consultation with the civil protection and with the leadership of the army we decided the obvious that the helicopters will fly when it is absolutely safe”, he said, emphasizing the priority given to the rescue of the affected. “We saved a lot of human lives because we acted in concert and great self-sacrifice by all the agencies involved.”

To the question of SKAI and Nadine Hardalia, Kyriakos Mitsotakis made special reference to the need for simulations to deal with extreme situations. “There needs to be a much better vertical coordination of all the executives referred to Civil Protection, I would say with more preparation at the level of intervention plans which will not be simple, you know, texts on paper – we have too many such plans – but will be based on real exercises which will have been done in the field. We don’t do enough exercises today for Civil Protection issues, we need to do many more. In other words, let’s go from the theory and the bureaucracy of a plan that may exist on paper, to the practice of what we will do if what happened” replied the prime minister.

However, referring to the establishment of the water management organization in Thessaly, he emphasized that he will seek inter-party agreement on its staffing, so that there is no doubt that people who have guarantees are appointed.