“I am certain that 2018 will be a milestone year for all. A year full of challenges that will require hard work in order to be implemented in the most positive way, so that it is also a year of vindication for the Greek people,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Monday while addressing a cabinet meeting.
“We are about to conclude the third programme review and we are entering the last phase of the fiscal adjustment prorgamme that we agreed in the summer 2015. Therefore we are ending a lengthy cycle of supervision that began in May 2010, when Greece was shut out of the money markets,” he added.
The third programme review will be concluded without additional fiscal measures, Tsipras said and added that the Greek economy has embarked on a recovery phase, in which its fundamentals were recovering steadily and leading to an exit from the crisis.
The year 2018 will for Greece be one “filled with challenges and important opportunities that we should not miss, not only in the economy but also in foreign policy,” Tsipras said. Referring to the issue over the name of FYROM, Tsipras noted that this has been stalled to Greece’s detriment for 25 years.
“We have a window for solution, to the degree that the shift made by our neighbours proves to be sincere. A solution that, if achieved, will be for the benefit of peace and cooperation in the Balkans, but also for the benefit of a new dynamic for our country in the wider region,” the prime minister noted.
He added that “the next few days will show how feasible it is to take steps in this direction.”
Things were also looking up for the economy, with Greece embarked on a course indicating that the country’s return to the money market once the loan agreement ends in August was more than just rhetoric but a real probability, the prime minister said.
“All the signs point to this and it is a very important goal to put a final end to the programmes in August, and to the state of supervision that Greece entered in May 2010,” Tsipras stressed.
He underlined that the current figures are similar to those before 2010. At the same time, social indices are also on the rise, he added.
Regarding unemployment, he said that it has been steadily falling over the last two and a half years, and noted the effort to stamp out undeclared employment, as well as to reduce bureaucracy, combat corruption and build a new social state.
“The year 2018 will see the acceleration and deepening of our own political perceptions and initiatives, a year where we can make… our political orientation even clearer,” said Tsipras.
He underlined that this is the key to better living conditions for a large majority of society, “strengthening a great social alliance with the social classes that we want to express and represent.” He added that “this confessed bias” does not lead to a new division but it unites all citizens, all social forces behind a single growth plan, because sustainable development cannot be achieved without reducing inequalities.