Things will only get better: that’s the main message of Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in his New Year’s address to the people. He outlined his government priorities for 2014 and tried to lift up the spirit of a tired, unhappy and austerity-hit society.
Nice words like “primary surplus”, end of loan agreements (MoU),”return to the markets”, “comprehensive settlement of the total debt”, “combat unemployment” we heard in Samaras’ address that reminded a speech of a pre-election campaign.
“The hardest things have passed,” Samaras heralded just a few hours before the public hospital ticket increases from €5 to €25, before the state will charge €1 for every prescription receipt redeeming, amid scenarios that the tax office will not accept receipts for the main and basic expenses (utilities, transport tickets, supermarkets etc) of employees and pensioners and when Greeks will have to pay 1.6 billion euro more in taxes in the new year.
“Time has come to reward the people. There is pain , above all there is unemployment. We’ve made mistakes and we will correct them. We did injustices and we will restore them. This is my anguish , my concern and my responsibility.”
Main points from Samaras’ speech:
“After six endless, painful years of recession, the vicious cycle ends in 2014 with rising prospects for recovery. Expectations growing faster. Recovery is the foundation of our independence, our hope for the future . ”
” Now we do not ask every month loans from abroad in survive . We have succeeded for the first time for many years , what is obvious to any serious country: to cover our immediate needs. This is what we call the primary surplus. Nobody expected that we managed this, but we did it … ”
“We made the first step: to stand on our feet and regain our confidence as a people and our independence as a country.”
“The biggest part of this year’s surplus will return to society in the coming months , the weakest and the most needy.”
“The first collective bargain that provides wage increases was signed. The climate began to reverse.”
” We build step by step on solid ground . In 2014, Greece will return to the markets, it will start to become a normal country again , the debt will be declared viable, without the need of loan agreements, without the need to borrow money.”
” In 2014 we will make the big step: we will exit the loan agreement. Light appears at the end of the tunnel . At the end of 2014, this light will be obvious to all.”
“In 2014 we will launch the next wave of major reforms and our economy will finally become competitive. No paperwork , no distortion , no corruption.”
Samaras sent his best wishes to all Greeks and concluded:
“Now we turn fear into hope, grumbling into confidence, disunity into unity. And misery into creativity.”
Of course, the questions are: Why the coalition government shrinks in recent public opinion polls and main opposition is constantly ahead, why 56% of Greeks declare “they would leave the country if they had the chance to”, and why 69% say that “the worst is ahead”?
The answer is simple: because all the public opinion polls took place before Samaras’ New Years’ message 🙂