NEWS

Opposition SYRIZA slams government recovery plan, presents alternative proposal

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The leader of main opposition SYRIZA criticized the government’s economic recovery plan as placing an unfair burden on small and medium-sized enterprises, promoting excessive privatizations and undermining labor rights during a presentation of his leftist party’s “Greece+” proposal for the utilization of EU resources.

Speaking at an event at the Tae Kwon Do arena in southern Athens presenting the broad strokes of SYRIZA’s alternative plan for the absorption of billions of euros in funding and cheap loans from the EU Recovery Fund, Alexis Tsipras also accused the center-right government of failing to consult with opposition parties on its recovery blueprint. 

“The chronological scope of its program surpasses the constitutional tenure of the current administration,” he said, adding that he will propose the formation of a special parliamentary committee to oversee the allocation of those funds.

The government’s recovery program, he said, relies on four pillars: elasticity in labor relations by way of reducing wages and increasing working hours; privatizations of public infrastructure, including energy companies, insurance funds, and health and education services; reducing the number of SMEs and leaving them out of the “green” transition; and reducing taxes on profits and high incomes by transferring the tax burden on consumption and onto small and medium-sized property assets, all while reducing social spending.

What Greece needs, said Tsipras, is a coherent strategy “that lays the foundations for sustainable, equitable development and growth.”

SYRIZA’s “Greece+” plan, explained the former prime minister, comprises the following five principles:

– “Green” energy policy: introducing the idea of energy self-production and self-consumption by both homes and businesses, namely the de-centralization of energy production towards an investments model based on equal contribution, and the management of energy production by “energy communities.”

– Labor policy & relations: transforming the production model by way of supporting salaries, SMEs, freelancers and collective labor contracts, raising minimum wage and upgrading workers’ skills.

– Digital transformation: preventing “digital exclusivity” by providing nationwide access to advanced public digital services equally, to all.

– Social cohesion & resilience: reducing inequalities by raising expenditure on the welfare state and the national health system, on education and culture.

– Development in cities and rural areas alike: reengaging local communities into local government planning and the absorption of EU Recovery Fund resources, ultimately paving the way for a new agri-growth model against geographical limitations in both mainland and island regions. [ANA-MPA/Kathimerini English Edition]