Top priorities: Economy, health, justice

Ministers provided with detailed roadmap of reforms and specific actions to implement 

Top priorities: Economy, health, justice

The ministers of Economy, Health and Justice will be responsible for most of the crucial reforms that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis wants to implement in his second four-year term.

All three, Kostis Hatzidakis at the Economy Ministry, Michalis Chrysochoidis at Health and Giorgos Floridis at Justice, are experienced officeholders. It is, perhaps, not a coincidence that the latter two also served as ministers under socialist Costas Simitis’ government (1996-2004) and were considered effective ones.

Mitsotakis, who is often accused of an overly centralizing approach to governing, showed exactly that at the first meeting of the new Cabinet last Wednesday: each minister received a blue folder prepared by ministers of state Stavros Papapstavrou and Akis Skertsos detailing their action plans.

The ministers are collectively called to implement 120 reforms, reach 79 “milestones” mostly having to do with securing European Union funds through the Recovery and Resilience Facility, and implement 859 operational actions.

On the economy, besides reaching the sought-after investment grade for Greece’s debt, getting out of junk status for the first time since 2010, the main challenge will be to secure significant pay raises in both the public and private sectors.

Reforming the National Health System (ESY in Greek) is also a top priority: its weaknesses were exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic and it was the main issue where opposition criticism, both from left-wing SYRIZA and socialist PASOK, resonated.

Also, improving the administration of justice is crucial for the government’s perception by citizens, but also as the functioning, or malfunctioning, of the justice system has a considerable effect on the economy itself, often spooking potential investors.

In any case, for a second consecutive term, it will be up to the government to convince the citizens of its competence: government officials recognize that, when it faced problems during the first term, it was because of its own mistakes and not because the opposition criticized it or imposed its own narrative. And, they admit, there will be no global crisis on the scale of the pandemic to invoke as an excuse. But the fracturing of the opposition will give the government more breathing room, they believe.

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