Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Thursday underlined the importance of jump-starting growth in Greece, saying it was tantamount to the debt-racked country regaining its national sovereignty.
Addressing the second of his government’s regional growth conferences, in the central town of Lamia, Tsipras indicated that, following the return to the markets earlier this week, the country is on the verge of turning a page, toward growth and prosperity, following seven years of recession and austerity.
“The goal of growth is connected to the very existence of our nation, our national sovereignty, the prosperity of our people, our children,” Tsipras said.
Bringing about growth, however, “demands broad social alliances, outlooks and political planning,” the premier said in an address to an audience of entrepreneurs and business groups.
Tsipras, who was accompanied on his visit by Energy Minister Giorgos Stathakis, Labor and Social Insurance Minister Effie Achtsioglou and Infrastructure and Transport Minister Christos Spirtzis, underlined his intention to meet with local officials and entrepreneurs and listen to their concerns, declaring that he was not visiting Lamia as a representative of the leftist SYRIZA party he leads.
“As we look toward the day after, we are all in the same boat,” he said. “We are all sitting on the same branch,” he added. “We should stop sawing away at it.”
Earlier in the day, Tsipras met with employees of state-run mining firm Larco and reassured them that his government would ensure the organization is not privatized.
During his speech, he stressed that his government’s aim was to ensure “fair growth” and that those that have been hardest hit by the country’s financial crisis will not have to suffer any more.
He added that Greece has asked the European Commission to broaden the social and geographical criteria for regions to qualify for EU structural funding.
Earlier this month, Tsipras launched the first of what is intended to be a series of regional growth conferences in Kozani, northern Greece, in a bid to indicate that the country is finally turning a page.