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15:04 | 15.09.2015

International

SYRIZA’s president Alexis Tsipras’ speech at the Thessaloniki International Fair

SYRIZA’s president Alexis Tsipras’ speech at the Thessaloniki International Fair in September 6th 2015


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

It is a pleasure for me to be once more in Thessaloniki on the stand of the welcoming International Fair.

The International Fair, which is an important institution that supports and highlights the production potentials of our country.

This contribution is very crucial particularly today when the issue of the country’s production orientation is the focus of public discussion.

The great issue of the economic and social model that could lead us out of the crisis with society and citizens standing up.

This is what is at stake in the 20 September elections. Because we must ensure that deep crisis is not followed by the cycle of jobless growth.

It is exactly here that the real clash is taking place. On the one hand, the perspectives of the old and bankrupt political system, and on the other, the forces of a Greece that produces, a Greece that fights and reclaims its international status.

If we needed to draw a conclusion from the years of crisis, this would be that production should not be based on the social ruins that austerity is leaving behind, nor broaden the social inequalities and lean on state-supported oligarchs, on the networks of corruption and favoritism, on privileged relations in the state and administrative mechanism, on cartels and tax evasion.

On the contrary, we need growth that will be based on labor, on investment in novelty, on the quality of the products and services provided.

Growth oriented and planned to make use of all the country’s production potentials.

Growth that will offer the country’s overqualified youth a way out by enabling them to make use of their knowledge, their energy, and their drive to live and create.

Growth as a means of social prosperity.

These are not just some minor issues but the great dilemmas of our times, which also reflect the political parties’ different perspectives.

The perspective of razing working classes, middle classes, and farmers against the perspective that wants them to become the motor and the catalyst for the exit from the crisis.

In order to do this, we need a course that will be characterized by strong public intervention with investments, income redistribution policies, as well as institutional breakthroughs for the democratization and organizational reconstruction of the public administration.

Because growth cannot be the result of social destruction but should conversely be based on boosting active demand as well as on a dynamic and competitive export sector.

Dear friends,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Over this last period we have shown our political intentions by implementing a number of our election campaign commitments despite the extremely adverse economic conditions we found ourselves in.

Some are trying to hide themselves.

They used to scream that we would get the country out of the euro.

Now that their propaganda has collapsed, they are left with nothing.

All they can do now is compare SYRIZA with SYRIZA.

Our campaign program with what we have managed to implement so far.

If we had not brought back an agreement, they would be saying that we destroyed the country.

Now that we have an agreement, they are saying we are off our campaign program.

Anyone can see that they want to hide their intentions and strategies - we will not allow this.

They are absent from their own campaign.

I would like, however, to take the opportunity at this point to review what we have managed to do over these dense and harsh seven months.

(1) We started the implementation of the first pillar of our Program for the confrontation of the humanitarian crisis. In this context, with our first law we have already:

-         Provided free electricity for 212,216 eligible individuals

-         Issued food vouchers for 349,826 eligible individuals

-         Implemented an accommodation program with rent subsidy for 30,575 families

-         Provided free health care for all the unemployed.

-         Abolished the 5 euro charge in all hospitals

(2) As far as the second pillar of our program is concerned, because of the adverse economic conditions and the orchestrated asphyxiation we have not been able to apply the necessary tax reliefs in favor of the working classes and small and medium-sized businesses, but we took certain relief measures, often in intense conflict with the institutions.

-         We have implemented our commitment for a 100-instalment payment plan for tax and social security debts, at the same time issuing tax and social security clearance certificates for those who entered the plan. This plan has been used by more than 750,000 individuals and companies.

-         We have also passed the Second Chance Act, full tax relief for honest bankrupt persons; which Europe had insisted on for years but previous governments never did. Now thousands of small and medium-sized entrepreneurs and professionals who went bankrupt honestly will be given the chance to start up a new business without the burden of debts, to support their families again, to contribute to the Greek economy again, to stand up again.

(3) In the field of labor reinforcement and protection, we have already abolished the antidemocratic law of civil mobilization and we restructured voucher programs so that the participants will be the ones to benefit from them.
 

We have put a stop to the waste of funds in training and practical experience programs, while our re-planning increased the number of the unemployed who participate and the sums they receive from 25-40% to 60-75% of the total funds.

100,000 unemployed people are today already taking part in subsidized programs and in the next two months this number will go up to 120,000. By February 2016 (that is, in less than a year) these positions will have gone up to 212,000 approximately.

At the same time, we are planning 150,000 new temporary (8-month) jobs for 2016.

(4) In the fields of the democratization of public administration, the strengthening of the welfare state and the combating of corruption and tax evasion, in only six months we have done more than was done in five years.

For instance:

-         We passed a law for the democratization of public administration, the abolition of labor reserve and the reshaping of mobility.

-         We opened ERT [Greek public television], which is being transformed into a competitive and objective broadcaster in information and entertainment, embraced by the viewers without needing to increase its fees.

-         We reopened big cases of tax evasion and corruption while we have already initiated a comparative analysis of bank accounts of over 300,000 euros in relation to declared incomes over the last decade in order to trace untaxed amounts.

-         We reemployed those who had been unconstitutionally laid off, making a step towards the restoration of justice in a damaged and discredited public sector.

-         We launched the procedures to hire 3,500 healthcare and medical staff in order to reinforce the health system.

-         We gave the TV broadcast licenses bill to public consultation proving our will to battle with the forces of collusion.

-         We charged all the so far uncollected debts of the television broadcasters.

Friends,

None of the above took place in normal or regular conditions.

On the contrary, they were implemented in a period characterized predominantly by the harsh and persistent negotiation with the lenders in an environment of deliberate financial asphyxiation.

Asphyxiation orchestrated by the fanatic advocates of austerity and neoliberalism in Europe and sustained with the willing coordination of the domestic forces of the political and economic establishment.

Everybody in the country and abroad knows that the Greek government negotiated forcefully in conditions of economic war.

I would like to focus on the results of the negotiation both on a European level and in Greece making a short evaluation of the Agreement we struck with the lenders.

On a European level, it is a universally acknowledged truth that after the seven-month negotiation between our government and the lenders Europe is not the same.

The entire Europe was shaken by the tough fight of a determined people.

What we have already achieved is that the public debate now focuses not simply on the Greek issue, but on the very way Europe manages the economic crisis that broke out in 2008 and has overwhelmed the world.

For the first time in recent European history the doctrine of severe fiscal adjustment, austerity, and internal devaluation is being questioned.

Some may persist, but there are strong tendencies recorded that call this doctrine into question, while political forces - from European social-democrats to Greens - are reviewing their stand.

There is every likelihood that these tendencies will be strengthened and broadened further to the extent that Germany as the locomotive of austerity has exhausted much of its political capital in its confrontation with small Greece, particularly because of the pressure it exerted and its leading role in the blackmail of 12 July.

Despite the unbearable pressure and our weak forces though, no-one can deny that we achieved an agreement which under certain conditions may create a new perspective for the Greek economy.

The agreement reflects the given balance of power.

But for the first time now this balance includes the interests of the social majority in Greece.

Apart from the hard measures, we should also examine what this agreement is replacing and what perspectives it opens up, given the fact that it restores stability in the Greek economy while it once and for all closes the discussion about Grexit.

I would like now to highlight three points in the Agreement that constitute real and undeniable gain for the Greek side.

The first one is the fiscal targets.

These lower fiscal targets equal a saving in the proximity of 20 billion euros for the next four years that can be used to fund growth and support the welfare state.

This is a drastic reduction in our liabilities but also a clearly milder fiscal adjustment which can be proven critical for the fragile Greek economy.

You know the market; you can imagine what it would mean for the Greek economy if we had to aim for surpluses of an additional 20 billion.

The second point is the funding we secured from ESM.

Whereas the initial draft of the institutions provided for funding of 5 billion euros in five months with continual evaluations, the new Agreement secures funds that can amount to 83 billion euros for a period of three years.

This development is more important than it might look at a first glance, as it closes once and for all the Grexit issue, while at the same time drastically weakens the German plan for an extension of the uncertainty, and reduces the potential of the European elites for blackmail in order to impose even harsher austerity.

It is no coincidence that many analysts who think outside the coordinates of the Greek political conflict did not hesitate to speak even of a defeat for German strategy.

The third positive point in the Agreement is, of course, the complete change of institutional framework we achieved by making the choice to let the previous program expire.

So the new loan agreement has been formed with ESM, which is an international organization and not a private company as EFSF was, the previous counterparty of the Greek Republic.

This has very specific consequences as regards the applicable law, since our relation with the lenders is now governed by International and European law and not by the English law.

This is also true about immunities and protection privileges of the property of the Greek Republic and the Bank of Greece, which return to the standard institutional framework cancelling the colonialist shame of the previous loan agreements.

Friends,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Agreement we have achieved after tough negotiations is a text deliberately open on certain issues, with the explicitly stated possibility of finding equivalent measures through negotiations with the institutions, which means that the battle for its improvement has in no way ended.

The development process of the Greek economy in the next decades depends on whether we will be able to deal with these issues successfully or not.

So allow me to refer to what could be called the open issues of the Agreement.

The first and foremost battle is the restructuring of the debt.

This issue, after our persistence in the negotiations, is at last put in its true perspective as a supranational economic and political problem since both the return of the Greek economy to growth and the foundation of a new financial architecture for the whole of Europe depend on its solution.

The question inevitably raised in all of us is who is the most capable of concluding the debt negotiation.

Those who until recently said that the debt was sustainable and begged for sustainability certificates - as if they were the beggars of Europe - or those who brought the issue to the center of the political confrontation in Europe?

The second important issue the next government will have to deal with is that of the management of “red” loans.

It is a colossal problem on whose solution liquidity provision to the real economy is dependent on.

SYRIZA is ready to implement immediate measures to handle the problem, at the same time protecting the first residence of those who are demonstrably unable to serve their debts.

In the context of the open negotiation, we will table - and insist on the implementation of - our proposal for the creation of a body that will mediate between the banks involved and the debtors.

The main points in this proposal are:

-         Prompt implementation of the Katseli law.

-         Enforcement of the law for the heavily indebted small and medium-sized businesses.

-         Changes to the Code of Conduct for Banks and activation of the institution of the informed borrower.

The third open issue in the Agreement is the setting up of the new Fund for the utilization of the state property.

For the time being we have ensured that this Fund will have a lifespan equal to that of the loan program so that the public property will be utilized with the highest possible returns.

The great difference between this Fund and sinful TAIPED [Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund] is the possibility given to the Greek state to assemble, organize and utilize its various assets, without being forced to sell off.

Besides, a 50% of this Fund’s revenue can be used for the payment of the ESM loan for the recapitalization of the banks, a 25% for the reduction of the loan, and a 25% for financing productive investments.

Therefore, both the institutional framework that will govern the Fund and the sound management of its assets are critical issues.

And only SYRIZA can guarantee the success of this complex negotiatory and administrative effort.

The fourth field of negotiation is the critical and central for SYRIZA issue of labor relations and collective bargaining.

The Agreement is completely open on this point and the sole commitment we have undertaken is to regulate collective bargaining in harmony with European good practices and in accordance with the principles of the International Labor Union.

After all, it was our persistence that led to the inclusion in the Agreement of the obligation to combat the various forms of undeclared work.

Here SYRIZA proves to be the only political force that can restore the smooth functioning of the labor market, reversing the course and cancelling the up to now anti-developmental and socially unjust deregulation of the labor market.

I remind you that New Democracy [ND] was and still is the political force that plays a leading role in the attempt to deregulate the labor market.

It signed and was fully committed to liberalizing redundancies in the private sector and dismantling labor relations.

In this context our government will proceed to:

(1) start a dialogue under the supervision of the International Labor Organization so that a framework is adopted for collective bargaining, trade union action, and protection against collective redundancies

(2) upgrade and re-staff the Labor Inspection Corps with the aim of efficiently combating undeclared work

(3) fully apply the interconnection of the Labor Ministry’s information systems for monitoring labor law

Here I would like to remind you that during the tough negotiations but also in the final text we managed to repel the intentions of the lenders and of domestic interests to privatize ADMIE [Independent Power Transmission Operator] and “small” DEI [Public Power Corporation].

This is proof that things were won and can still be won, even though many try hard to prove that it is impossible.

It is on this particular point, dear friends, that ND suffers a crashing defeat as its own program shows that it intends to claim nothing but what the lenders themselves would be kind enough to offer us,

but also to hold undeviatingly and unwaveringly to the same course of social demolition as in the past five years.

The same conclusion arises from their insistence during the negotiation that the government should make just any deal.

Even when the partners were asking for surpluses of 20 billion more.

When they were asking us to get rid of EKAS [Pensioners’ Social Solidarity Benefit].

When they did not want to discuss the debt issue.

When they said there was no way of having a new deal unless the previous one was completed.

And let me be more specific:

The ND and its President’s recent statements show beyond any doubt their will to take the country back to the darkest times of the previous five years, back to the black years of Mr. Samaras and his partners:

Their first aim is further drastic reduction in public expenditure, i.e. an even fiercer attack on Health, Education, and Public Administration.

And let us not fool ourselves!

When ND speaks of expenditure restraint in the public sector, it does not mean a stop on splurging, because in splurging and intransparency it possesses insurmountable knowhow.

The same logic is displayed when it supports the liberalization of redundancies in the private sector.

Today though, everybody in our country knows that these policies lead nowhere but to a downward spiral of recession and a surge in unemployment.

At the same time, making its political orientation even more obvious, it wants to continue its policy of selling off public property even beyond the obligations arising from the agreement we achieved.

-         It wants to stop the great effort to combat tax evasion and check the list of suspects for tax evasion.

-         To close ERT again.

-         To continue the deregulation of the labor market.

-         To withdraw the TV broadcast licenses bill

-         To stop the ambitious program for combating the humanitarian crisis.

-         To revoke the 100 instalments legislation.

-         To direct tax hunt at small debtors who are objectively unable to pay.

But the most important thing is that ND offers no guarantee for sound management of public finance and shows no will to promote any serious plan for the utilization of the European programs for the financial support of the Greek economy.

Unless someone claims that the use of the best part of the European funds to benefit only a minimum number of companies is a sound option for growth.

Its history – a history of big and small scandals – should be enough proof of this.

Nothing but that. No vision, no strategy, no cohesive program.

Because if ND comes back to power, the networks of corruption and favoritism will also come back with it.

The networks that reaped the benefit of state funding for years, depriving the real economy of precious finances and major infrastructure works.

And it is this very complex of ND’s choices and commitments that will jeopardize Greece’s potential for exit from the crisis.

So everybody must question themselves about who has the political requirements, the ethos, the ability and the knowledge to serve not themselves and the particular big and small interests, but the dynamic forces of Greek society, the public interest, and the common good.

Can this role be played by the architects of social devastation or is it perhaps essential to form a new large social and political alliance of the healthy forces of the country?

The answers are obvious.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Friends,

SYRIZA’s program for the next four years intends to create the social and political conditions for disengagement from austerity policies and financial repression, through continuous improvement of the terms of the agreement.

In this context, SYRIZA proposes and intends to implement ten key-interventions which will transform practices and support the dynamic and productive forces of Greek society.

These interventions concern:

1.    Restoration of liquidity and modernization of the institutional framework for investments.

2.    Reinforcement and reorientation of the agricultural economy.

3.    Implementation of a plan for the development of the social economy.

Our first aim is the restoration of liquidity and the reversal of the conditions of financial asphyxiation that was deliberately imposed on the Greek economy.

Our tools in this effort include:

-         Recapitalization of the banking system, including smaller and cooperative banks, which will have been completed by 1 January 2016

-         The new ESPA [NSRF – National Strategic Reference Framework], in which we have secured the doubling of the deposit for the next programmatic period

-          Creation of a new development bank

-         Utilization of Juncker’s new investment plan

-         The funding we secured through our deal with EBRD, the activation of the investment branch of the World Bank, and the new collaboration with the European Investment Bank

The effort to shift the pressure for the restoration of the competitiveness of the Greek economy from wages to reforms will be promoted through:

-         The implementation of the law for the simplification of company licensing

-         The establishment of Businesses Service Centers

-         The implementation of our plan for lowering prices which includes:

a)    reexamination of the operating framework of the Competition Committee

b)    reforms in targeted sectors, such as retail and fuels, dominated by oligopolistic interests

-         The upgrading of institutional infrastructure regarding the attraction of direct foreign investments

-         The modernization of the planning, licensing, and growth control procedures, creating the necessary “legal certainty” conditions for citizens and investments

Our strategic orientation is to reinforce:

-         Small and medium-sized businesses, which an active policy of enlargement of the export base will help make a step beyond the country’s borders

-         Start-up and innovative businesses, which will take advantage of the new ecosystem around the research infrastructure of the Greek universities

-         New cooperative forms in the agricultural sector that will be oriented towards entrepreneurship and towards the processing of their product

-         Direct private investments with respect for labor and environmental legislation

-         The new social businesses that will be created when the new institutional framework we are preparing will be completed

Now, as far as the agricultural economy is concerned, it is a fact that the definitive solutions to the problems of Greek agriculture accumulated by ND and PASOK need long-term planning and implementation.

As from today, we commit ourselves:

-         To protecting the farmers’ income by combating agricultural suppliers’ transfer pricing practices, by checking on illegal imports and foreign products labeled as Greek, on concerted practices and overpricing, by adopting and keeping strict time limits in repaying producers

-         To giving back farmers the share they deserve from their products’ value, supporting cooperative bodies, establishing producers’ markets and local producer-consumer networks

-         To reorganizing public services and agricultural policy bodies into a unified, cohesive and anti-bureaucratic organization, which will provide farmers with counseling, educational and support services

-         To managing community financial aid and agricultural development programs with transparency and productive orientation

-         To reinforcing the country’s food security with specific plans for increasing production

The third field of interventions concerns the reinforcement of the development of the social economy.

The social and solidarity economy can play an instrumental role in the change of the production model in Greece and in meeting social needs, provided that it is supported by a cohesive governmental policy.

SYRIZA commits itself to the following institutional reforms:

-         Unification of the fragmented cooperative legislation so as to help create cooperative ventures and local networks of social economy

-         Creation of an institutional framework for the transference of bankrupt or under bankruptcy companies to cooperatives of (ex-) employees so as to restore the production capacity where there is a sustainability plan

-         Establishment of a Social Economy Fund, which will draw funds from administrative penalties, donations, sponsorships and EU structural funds, and channel them to cooperative bodies in various forms (subsidies, small loans, check guarantee coverage)

The second pillar of SYRIZA’s parallel program concerns the reinforcement of the welfare state in all its aspects, namely:

1.    Combating the humanitarian crisis

2.    Reinforcing active policies to reduce unemployment

3.    Protecting and upgrading the health and welfare system

4.    Supporting the democratic transformation of the educational system

As far as the humanitarian crisis is concerned, I have already extensively mentioned the measures taken by our government over the last seven months.

In the next few months, the new SYRIZA government will extend these measures by issuing a special public transport card for unemployed people, and a card for the uninsured.

The new government will strengthen and extend the protective net over crisis victims and economically vulnerable groups, which was started by the humanitarian crisis law, with three new measures:

a)    Social income card

b)    Targeted benefits in kind (accommodation, energy, health, transportation)

c)     School meals for all primary school students in the areas most stricken by the crisis

In addition, through national and EU funding, it will install and support 57 social solidarity networks with the cooperation of regional governments, municipalities, NGOs, grassroots solidarity structures, as well as the Church, with transparency and democratic control.

These networks will use foods that today are being wasted or lost (agricultural produce, industrial products, etc).

Finally, by the end of 2015, the government will bring to Parliament a new bill regarding the National Social Solidarity System (a new National Health System of social protection), which will switch the nature of the whole welfare system from a nontransparent, institutional, benefit-centered one to a welfare system of public nature and democratic control.

As for our policies for combating unemployment, our program revolves around three axes:

First, the inclusion of the unemployed in the production process and social life, through the creation of temporary jobs, with basic salary and full social security rights, in sectors that cover social needs.

These projects will be implemented by the private and public sectors and by social economy ventures.

During the seven months of our administration, 52,000 unemployed people were included in the Community Service program on the basis of the previous government’s planning, which presented several inadequacies.

The government moved in the direction of a new plan, of an eight-month duration and measurable results, and agreed with the creditors on a program of guaranteed employment for 150,000 unemployed people that will be materialized before the end of 2016.

Our aim for an emergency employment program for 300,000 unemployed people in two years has already started.

Our second axis concerns the support, employment and creation of new jobs in the private sector, as well as the creation of cooperative ventures of social economy with subsidization of wages.

The third axis of our plan concerns the support of young unemployed, through programs of consultancy, training, work-experience placement and guaranteed employment in businesses operating in emerging sectors of the Greek economy.

During the first seven months of the SYRIZA administration, employment programs were for the first time redesigned with specific aims and a stop was put to the waste of funds.

An example of this is the program addressed to 16,000 unemployed people (aged 29-64) with an overall budget of 112 million euros.

According to the initial planning, 75% of the funds would go to Training Providers, intermediaries and specific companies, which would thus secure free labor, while only 25% would go to the unemployed.

By redesigning it, using own resources, the program now includes 26,000 unemployed people who receive 75% of the funds instead of 25% as initially planned.

Health will also be at the forefront of the SYRIZA government planning in the next years so that quality of life and sense of security will substantially improve.

Our goal is to ensure access for all to medicine and essential health services.

To this end, the SYRIZA government will immediately proceed to:

-         Provide all citizens with an electronic health card, creating an electronic register for patients and service providers

-         Establish e-government services in Health, prompt completion and operation of the health map, aiming to reduce red tape, splurge and corruption in prescribing

-         Start a new system of Primary Health Care by creating the institution of family doctor and neighborhood surgeries, and developing Health Centers in urban areas.

Finally, as far as education is concerned, it is common knowledge that it is necessary to implement a great democratic, radical reform in all levels, from preschool to postgraduate studies.

These breakthroughs will redress the terms for a genuine cultural revitalization of the country and will follow these lines:

-         Radical changes in the school curriculum and books in Primary and Secondary Levels

-         Support programs that will mitigate educational and social inequalities; radical restructuring of special education

-         Ongoing training for teachers

-         State language certificates in two foreign languages and IT certificates provided by state schools

-         Establishment of a single framework for technical-vocational education and training

-         Redesigning the map of Higher Education and Research with academic and geographical criteria, in connection to the new national development plan

The constitution of a Single Space of Public Higher Education and Research will aim, on the one hand, to put Greek research institutes and universities on the international frontline of innovative technology, and, on the other, render Greece – with its cultural and historical heritage – an international center for humanities.

I conclude with the third pillar of our ambitious radical program, which places on the agenda of the days the need for profound organizational transformation and democratization of the state.

This pillar is specified with interventions

1.    for the reconstruction of public administration

2.    for the reinforcement of the effort to combat tax evasion and corruption

3.    for the deepening of democracy in every aspect of political and social life

The immediate and mid-term measures we will take for the reconstruction of the public administration include:

-         the introduction of a Register of Public Servants and Officials with high qualifications and work experience, from which all the executive officers of Public Organizations, Public Companies, and Public Law Legal Persons will be selected, through open and transparent processes.

-         Profound organizational change throughout the public sector pyramid, from the Central Administration to the last supervised public body, using up-to-date organizational charts

-         The new organizational charts create the conditions for a mobility system in the public sector based on:

a)    voluntary reassignment

b)    remedy of deficiencies per branch and scientific specialty

c)     full transparency through an open informative system of monitoring the “internal labor market” of the public sector

-         Assessment of the work produced by public administration

-         We have already prepared the electronic KEP [Citizens’ Service Center] ERMIS which can immediately issue 20 certificates and can send to any citizen’s email box about 150 certificates

-         Upgrade of the National Centre for Public Administration and Local Government to a principal consultant for Public Administration; after two years of inertia, the new competition for entrance to the Centre has opened

About the public administration’s digital policy in particular

-         We establish a single Public Authority, at the highest government level, with digital policy and electronic government as its scope

-         We check all public contracts electronically and uniformly

-         We ensure the functionality of the public administration’s digital registers

-         We complete and extend the opening of public data

-         We reinforce, simplify and expand Diavgeia [The Transparency Program Initiative]

Our interventions that concern combating tax evasion and corruption were the flag of SYRIZA’s program in January 2015 and continue to be one of the key elements that completely differentiate SYRIZA from the old political system.

More specifically, we promote

-         Stricter penalties and simpler enforcement proceedings. The penalties must go as far as fully confiscating incomes not reported or unexplained assets

-         Strong and well-staffed tax administration with technical resources and operational planning

On this front we have already managed to leave our mark with cross examination of bank accounts data and of tax returns, with acquisition of software so as to trace VAT frauds, with the preparation of a bill and an operational strategy to crack down on the smuggling of fuels, tobacco products and spirits.

We proceed with international collaborations on knowhow transference and adoption of good practices as well as on provision of information about acquisition of assets abroad.

Our government intends to submit a request to other countries so that they make known assets that have been obtained abroad by Greeks during the crisis.

As for the fight against corruption, the SYRIZA government commits itself to proceed to:

-         Plot a sectoral strategy against corruption in the whole of public administration and particularly in high risk sectors (health, defense, public contracts-supplies, local government organizations, public works, etc)

-         Thoroughly reconstruct the system and the processes of Public Contracts, with transparent terms in Public Works

-         Establish a new legal framework for political money and assets obtained by state officials

Concluding this part of the presentation of our program, I cannot but refer to and stress the necessity for democratic transformation of the state, which will be realized through active policies for the promotion of equality, the defense of democratic freedoms and the protection of individual rights in all aspects of the state’s function.

This great effort will culminate in the necessary constitutional review on which SYRIZA will open a broad democratic dialogue with the social forces and the citizens.

Friends,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Many say – deliberately, so as to muddy the waters – that what is at stake in this election battle is only the management of the Agreement, which they deliberately present as a hermetically closed text.

There is no greater lie and no greater distortion of the truth.

On 20 September, it is decided whether we will return to the dark days of corruption, favoritism, power networks and collusion, which dominated the country over the last decades and soared during the Samaras’ administration

Or we will keep up the fight to exit the crisis and the fight against austerity policies – a fight that started a few months ago.

What is decided is the orientation and the continuation of an effort for an economic, administrative and social reconstruction of the country, beyond and out of the decadent and bankrupt old political system.

This is the great dilemma of these elections and I am certain that the citizens, the Greek people, the dynamic and productive forces of this devastated but proud society already know what they will choose.

They will choose to gaze the future with hope and expectation.

They will choose to put a final stop to the plans for the restoration of a power system that bankrupted the country and razed the economy.

They will choose SYRIZA again.

Thank you.

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