Government making pledges amid broader uncertainty

Government making pledges amid broader uncertainty

Amid mounting speculation about the timing of a government reshuffle, which will be aimed at giving the leftist-led administration a boost as Greece enters a protracted pre-election period, officials have been pointing to possible concessions to measures agreed with creditors.

During a visit to the Neorio Shipyards on the island of Syros on Friday, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras suggested that the official end to Greece’s bailout status will allow authorities to reinstate certain labor rights that have been compromised over the years.

“The end of this period and the end of the memorandums means the restoring of rights, of collective contracts and the increase of the minimum wage,” he said, pledging a return to “quality jobs.”

New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis meanwhile, speaking from Zakynthos, said that job creation was important but that Greece had to “exploit its significant comparative advantages in order to attract investments.” 

There has been much speculation about what pledges Tsipras will make when he takes the stage at the Thessaloniki International Fair in early September. He is widely expected to suggest that a new round of pension cuts scheduled for January 2018 can be revoked or to offer handouts, from an anticipated primary budget surplus, that would offset the pension cuts.

In comments to Sto Kokkino FM on Friday, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said the administration was planning “a series of policies to support and relieve certain social groups and boost the income of workers.”

As for the next year’s planned pension cuts, he remarked that, “objectively the implementation of this measure is not necessary for us to meet the primary surplus target.” 

The post-bailout reality for the government and for leftist SYRIZA were the focus of discussions on Friday during a session of the party’s political council, as were the prospects for a reshuffle.

SYRIZA's central committee is to convene on Monday to discuss a possible change to the post of the party's general secretary ahead of an anticipated cabinet reshuffle. 

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