Tsipras announces that it will prohibit evictions and will give food, light and sanitation free to the poor
- These measures are part of the immediate program of the Greek prime minister to deal with the humanitarian crisis.
- It has announced a progressive rise in the minimum wage to 751 euros and a Christmas pay to retirees who receive less than 700 euros of pension.
- In addition, people whose layoffs violated the law, such as ministerial cleaners, school guards or officials will return to their jobs.
- It has also announced a plan to reform public administrations with reductions in spending on security, aircraft or official cars.
- It has rejected that they want an extension of the rescue, but a “bridging loan until concluding the negotiations for a growth program”.
The Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, announced on Sunday a program of immediate help to deal with the humanitarian crisis and the rehiring of public employees who were unfairly dismissed.
The plan against the humanitarian crisis would cost about 2,000 million euros The first measures from Wednesday will include food aid, free electricity and full access to the health of those most punished by the crisis, said Tsipras when presenting his Government’s program in Parliament . “Without reforms of the State we would not obtain anything, neither with the best agreement for the debt”, it emphasized at the beginning of a long enumeration of the plans that the Government will undertake, between which it emphasized like maximum priority the fight against the clientelism and the corruption.
All these measures are part of a plan divided into two phases. The first is focused on combating the human crisis , one of the pillars of the so-called Thessaloniki program. As calculated by the Government, this plan would cost about 2,000 million euros and would be financed through a better fight against tax evasion.
According to the calculations of the leftist party Syriza, the Greek State loses 12,000 million euros annually for contraband, tax evasion and debts to the Treasury. The Thessaloniki program defines the goal of recovering 4,000 million of that total annually.
The speech of Tsipras has begun the three-day parliamentary debate that will conclude on Tuesday with the vote of confidence to the new Executive.
Short-term social measures
- Food aid Food vouchers will be offered to the most needy families.
- Free electricity to 300,000 homes of people without means.
- Universal access to healthcare. Access to health will be restored, of which two and a half million people were excluded in recent years.
- Progressive rise of the minimum wage. From the current 586 euros to 751 euros . It can not be applied immediately because it is necessary to “give time to the social agents”, Tsipras has maintained, but said that it will be achieved gradually until 2016 . Another measure that the government will promote will be the reestablishment of the collective agreements that were destroyed in recent years.
- Prohibition of evictions. The evictions of the first homes will be prohibited. “It is clear that we will not apply the promises of the previous prime minister to the troika,” he said, referring to the moratorium on evictions ending in January.
- Pay Christmas to retirees. It will apply to those who charge less than 700 euros per month of pension. It is an extraordinary payment eliminated by the previous Government of Samaras. In addition, Tsipras promised that there will be no cuts in pensions or new increases in retirement age. To finance the costs, a fund of pension funds will be created that will be financed with the income provided by the exploitation of the natural resources.
- Universal access to education. Tsipras is committed to improving the system and the educational level. “Education will play a fundamental role in the recovery of the country,” he said.
Officials and public TV
- Recruitment of public employees. The people whose layoffs violated the law, such as ministerial cleaners, school guards, and university officials, will return to their jobs.
- Reopening of public television ERT. It was closed by the government of Antonis Samaras in 2013. For Tsipras, this measure will serve to “repair the crime against the Greek people and democracy,” he said.
Reforming administrations and cutting privileges
Two weeks after winning the elections, Tsipras has also announced a plan to reform public administrations. “We are going to make the most important institutional reform with a first phase that will last the next six months,” Tsipras announced.
- Personnel cuts, security spending … Tsipras has announced significant reductions in spending on security, aircraft or cars available to public officials. In addition, the Government will reduce by 30% the staff of the seat of the Government , and by 40% the escorts of the prime minister. “And this is not only symbolic, it is because it is necessary that the police are in the neighborhoods for the safety of citizens,” he said. Tsipras announced that the secret services will change character and name and will be called the National Sovereignty Protection Service.
- Less privileges for ministers and deputies. “We will reduce the armies of councilors, we will eliminate half of the ministries’ cars and we will sell them together with one of the three government planes,” Tsipras said. He added that, in addition, he will ask the president of Parliament to eliminate the privilege of the deputies to have a car.
Economic measures: fight against evasion and tax reform
In a second phase, which would be developed throughout the rest of the legislature, the conditions for the application of the new social contract proposed by Tsipras would be created.
- Fight against tax evasion. Tsipras announced that it will proceed immediately to control large deposits that do not have fiscal justifications. In addition, it announced that the laws that amnestied in advance the officials who work for the Bank of Greece and the entity in charge of the TAIPED privatizations will be eliminated. ” We will not forgive anyone and nothing of the past, ” he said to add that a parliamentary investigation will also begin to purge responsibilities on the situation in which Greece is.
- Tax Reform. With a view to apply in the medium term, the philosophy of this reform is that each citizen and each company contributes to the income of the State according to their abilities and that ends with a situation that allowed people with the highest income to get rid of paying taxes. “We are committed to creating a simple system that will transfer the burden of taxation on the highest incomes , ” he said, adding that the exempt tax base 12,000 per year will be reset and the controversial property tax on first homes will be removed, to be replaced by one on the big properties.
- There will be no privatizations. Tsipras assured that he wants to attract private investment, but that he will not privatize the networks and infrastructure of the country that “are our national capital, the natural and mineral wealth.” “I want to make it clear that we will support all the investments that contribute to the creation of jobs,” he said.
- Public investment plan. The Government will develop a strong investment program that guarantees public interest and that, as requested by French and Italians, should not be included in the calculation of the deficit.
“We do not want an extension of the rescue, but a bridge loan”
On the other hand, Tsipras has expressed that “Greece does not want an extension of the rescue, but a bridging loan” until the signing of a definitive reform agreement. The Greek Prime Minister said that Greece wants to pay its debt and assured that if the partners want the same, they must “negotiate with us the technical means to do so”.
“If we agree that austerity was disastrous, the solution will be reached through negotiations , ” Tsipras said while presenting the government program in parliament, adding that debt has “exceeded 180%” of gross domestic product (GDP).
“We want to make it clear to all that we do not negotiate our national sovereignty, we do not negotiate the mandate of the people,” he stressed. “That is why the new government has no right to request the extension of this program,” said Tsipras, who explained that for this reason his Cabinet ” only asks for a bridge program until negotiations are concluded to jointly develop a growth program.”
“Many people ask me if this is possible in a fortnight’s time, we’ll answer yes , because there will be issues like debt that can be negotiated later,” he said. Tsipras reaffirmed that the intention of his Government is to achieve a new contract between Greece and the European Union that “will respect the rules of the eurozone, but will not include unrealizable surpluses that are the other face of austerity”.
The Government trusts that the line outlined by Tsipras in Parliament will serve to reach a compromise with Brussels at the extraordinary meeting to be held by the Eurogroup next Wednesday.
For now, however, the fronts seem irreconcilable, because on Friday the government insisted not to request an extension of the rescue, as demanded the eurozone partners in exchange for financial aid but rather a financial injection to serve of bridge until full agreement is reached with the creditors.