Inaugurating the Thessaloniki International Fair on Saturday night, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras declared that “Greece is turning a page,” and that had moved from “Grexit” – the risk of exiting the Eurozone – to “Grinvest” as investor interest grows.
“The country is becoming a strategic partner of the major financial powers of the planet,” he said, referring to recent visits to Greece by French and Russian leaders and from China which is this year’s “honored” country at the event.” “The country’s image has changed dramatically for the better, the signs of recovery are clear, to us, to investors and to our partners,” he said.
Tsipras heralded a “new growth model unencumbered by the distortions of the past” and stressed the importance of “shaping policies that guarantee we do not return to the past.” “We will not return to the Greece that went bankrupt,” he said, calling on young Greeks and workers to “open their stride.”
“The point is not to emerge from supervision to make the same mistakes,” Tsipras said, referring to Greece’s oversight by international creditors. “The aim is to shape institutions so that Greece does not again return to the past.”
Tsipras underlined the increased interest of investors in Greece, noting that this is not a “natural phenomenon” but based on signs of a gradual return to growth and citing official statistics indicating that growth will approach 2 percent of gross domestic product this year. Tsipras stressed, however, that “growth reflected only figures which is not for the many is not growth at all.”
Earlier on Saturday evening, labor unions staged protests in the northern port to protest the government’s austerity policies that were mostly peaceful. Shortly before Tsipras took the stage on Saturday night, a group of far-leftist protesters tried to break a police cordon guarding the venue but were pushed back by officers who fired tear gas to disperse them.