NEWS

Greeks reject populism, Mitsotakis tells Biden’s Summit for Democracy

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Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis warned on Thursday of the need to tackle the persistent threats posed by politics of authoritarianism and populism.

“In recent years, Greece, the birthplace of democracy, experienced first hand the divisive politics, failed promises and empty rhetoric of both far-left and far-right populism – and has rejected both,” he told the Summit for Democracy, held online on December 9-10 at the initiative of US President Joe Biden.

Mitsotakis, one of 111 global state leaders invited to address the summit, underlined the need to tackle the persistent threats posed by politics of authoritarianism and populism.

After a decade of financial crisis, “Greeks understood the need for true change, backing a reform agenda that was patriotic rather than nationalistic.”

Mitsotakis said that investments, new jobs and growth must be prioritized, along with improving the efficiency of the public sector by combating bureaucracy.

This could be pursued by reducing inequalities and emphasizing entrepreneurship and innovation through the digitization of the state and in partnership with the private sector, he added.

At the summit, Biden made a plea to bolster democracies around the world, calling safeguarding rights and freedoms in the face of rising authoritarianism the “defining challenge” of the current era.

In the opening speech for his virtual “Summit for Democracy,” a first-of-its-kind gathering intended to counter democratic backsliding worldwide, Biden said global freedoms were under threat from autocrats seeking to expand power, export influence and justify repression.

“We stand at an inflection point in our history, in my view. …Will we allow the backward slide of rights and democracy to continue unchecked? Or will we together have a vision…and courage to once more lead the march of human progress and human freedom forward?,” he said. [Kathimerini, Reuters]