The president of SYRIZA-PS criticized the Mitsotakis government for its economic policy, Stefanos Kasselakis speaking at the 34th Annual Greek Summit organized by the Hellenic American Chamber noting that he did not learn from the economic crisis of the previous decade.

In particular, he said: “The Greek government seems to have learned nothing from what happened in the country. With the prescriptions we lived through the dark times, it voluntarily imposes austerity until at least 2026. A development with the funds of the recovery program and the Resilience Fund (SRF) going to the few and bringing growth at the expense of the many, who will experience the fiscal adjustment that already brings taxes to the GDP at a 25-year record with no prospect of abatement. THE Hellas has “agreed” to the second largest fiscal discipline in the EU with primary surpluses covering 7.5% of GDP in the 5-year period 2021-2026. The austere states such as Germany and the Netherlands and the strong France committed to loose targets for recovery from the cost of living crisis.’

Mr. Kasselakis looked back on the memorandum period noting that “Greece suffered losses of -4.6% per year, every year, until citizens were exhausted and demand collapsed. In the PASOK government (2009-2011) and in the ND – PASOK government (2011-2015), the administrations were simply bad students of a major fiscal adjustment that destroyed the foundations of the country and simply did not work. The targets were never met in the 2010-2014 downturn and when the SYRIZA assumed power, he aimed to finally get the country out of this downward spiral. And he did it with unprecedented debt regulation, positive growth rates, full public coffers and an increased minimum wage.”

Afterwards, the president of SYRIZA analyzed his plan for the development of the country and the “Greek Dream”.

“We are the country that needs more than the relaxation of the Stability Pact, but our government does not negotiate and does not claim its rights,” said Mr. Kasselakis and then cited evidence that proves that Greece lags behind in all areas in relation to the EU: “Greece is still suffering and is far from convergence with the EU. Under the Mitsotakis government, the country took many steps backwards. We say “convergence everywhere” with all the critical elements with the EU. Greece lags behind: In terms of growth:

1) Investments: Greece is last in the EU in terms of the ratio of investments to GDP with 13.7%, with a deviation of 8.8% of GDP from the EU and 8.7% from the Eurozone. Annual investment gap: 18 billion euros! Greece is last in the EU in private investment with 7.42% of GDP, when the EU average is 13.67%, with a deviation of 6.25% of GDP (€13 billion). 3.4% is the deviation from the Union average in household investment, third from the bottom among the 27.

2) Exports of goods and services: Deviation of 6% of GDP from the Eurozone and 7.2% of GDP from the EU (15 billion behind).

3) Salaries and wages: Greece has a deficit of 10.2% of GDP (20 billion euros) deviation in wages and salaries from the EU average. With our income we buy 68% of the volume of the same items compared to the European average. In 2022 GDP per capita in terms of purchasing power (PPS), Greece is at 68% of the EU average, 24th out of the EU 27, with a deviation of: 32% from the EU average. As if that were not enough this, our country is third in the European Union in rates of intimidation in the workplace, the so-called mobbing, which damages the personality, dignity or physical and mental integrity of employees, endangers their work or disrupts the working climate.

4) In the data of the General Government: Expenditures for health: Greece’s negative deviation of 1.5% of GDP from the Eurozone (6.7% against 8.2%). A further increase of €3 billion is required for convergence.

Expenditure on education: Greece: Negative deviation of 0.7% of GDP from the EU (4.1% vs. 4.7%). The 1.25 billion euros are required for convergence.

Expenditure for the family and the child: Greece’s negative deviation of 0.8% of GDP from the EU (1.1% vs. 1.9%). 1.66 billion Euros are required for convergence.

Expenditure on sickness and disability 1.3% of GDP deviation from the EU (1.6% vs. 2.9%). €2.7 billion is needed for convergence.

Greece ranks last in the EU in housing policy, devoting much less than 1% of GDP to this purpose.

5) Disposable income: 2.1% of GDP difference of net disposable income compared to the EU average.

6) Surcharges: 1.5% of GDP more VAT than the EU average and 1.7% more than the Eurozone.

7) Capital taxes: 0.2% of GDP less than in EU and Eurozone, less than three times the burden.

Mr. Kasselakis spoke of the disastrous national and social consequences of the harsh, restrictive austerity policies implemented by conservative governments in Greece and Europe, in contrast to the expansionary fiscal policies implemented by the Biden administration in America, as a recipe for a way out from the crisis with prospects that will spark growth.

He then said: “Some ill-intentioned people deliberately ‘misunderstand’ or even distort my references to the US Democratic Party in order to claim that my goal is to turn SYRIZA-PS into a centrist or even center-right party. I know very well which party I serve as president.” He noted that it refers to the model of the US Democratic Party as a mass, large, pluralistic party that can help.

He then developed his plan for stable, sustainable and long-term growth that would go hand in hand with social progress.

Specifically, he said: “What do we want to do in this direction?

– To build a healthy labor market, with wages and rights.

– Creation of a simple, clear and stable tax framework. A tax code that will last a decade and not change every quarter like it does now. With a progressive corporate rate. And without prepayment of business income tax.

– Redistribution of the resources of the Resilience Fund (RRF) program to small and medium enterprises, the backbone of the Greek economy, the vast majority of which do not have access to bank loans and many of which are suffocating from debt.

– Without small businesses with 5 to 15 employees, producing added value from the productive sector and processing, there can never be stability.

– To implement a fair and inclusive green transition that will not leave behind thousands of helpless unemployed citizens.

– To design a big program for the huge problem of housing. For the independent living and emancipation of young people, so that the demographic indicators gradually improve.

– Emphasis should be placed on adequate funding, the quality and openness of education and scientific research.

-To attract foreign direct investments that will create added value for the national economy

– To restore the rule of law and ensure the operation of the state in a transparent manner, emphasizing the real digitization of its services and not the creation of additional digital bureaucracy.

– To pursue an active multidimensional foreign policy taking advantage of the country’s critical geopolitical position, building bridges with east and west with bilateral and multilateral partnerships that will be beneficial to all.

And on this course, we are looking for allies and fellow travelers among the brightest minds of Greece. To those who cultivate innovative ideas for the common good. To those who want to see their country move forward, change for the better. These people and these minds, wherever they live today around the world, are the future and the explosive catalyst for the transformation of Greece into a country worth living.

He closed with a personal statement: “I stand before you, pledging that for this Greece, for this Greek Dream, I am fighting and will continue to fight. When I decided to run for the presidency of SYRIZA, I was criticized by many, precisely because I come from the Greek diaspora in the USA, with no previous political experience, without even speaking perfect Greek. I was judged on my origin, my professional career and my intentions by people who know almost nothing about the Greek diaspora. The love of expatriates for their homeland is neither conservatism nor retrogression. It hides within it this unquenchable need for reconnection and, above all, unquenchable interest and anxiety for a good future for this country, even if they live thousands of kilometers away from it. I have known this diaspora since I was 14 years old. And with this diaspora, I wish to be constantly in communication, with the common good of the Greeks as a compass, wherever it is…they have chosen or been forced to live. You are our voice in the USA and at the same time the bridge between Greece and the USA. And you have a very important role to play in strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two countries and above all in decisively strengthening Greece’s extroversion towards the USA. To address the current situation: We need the voice of the diaspora as a lever of pressure for return – finally! – of the stolen Parthenon Sculptures in their homeland. We need the voice of the diaspora to pressure Turkey to stop challenging our sovereignty and sovereign rights. And we need that voice of the diaspora to be expressed through the postal vote in the European elections next June. As for me, having lived in both countries, I am determined to support that voice.”