The leader of the center-right European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber, expressed confidence in Conservative leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Saturday, saying an electoral win by New Democracy next year will “sideline populists” and restore Greece's credibility in Europe.
“A New Democracy government will not only sideline populists, it will also restore the credibility of this wonderful country in Europe. A New Democracy victory will also send a clear message to Europe that the rise of populism is not irreversible,” he told delegates at the party's 12th conference, held at the Metropolitan Expo venue near Athens International Airport in eastern Attica.
Weber, who is the favorite to replace Jean-Claude Juncker as European Commission President, said Greece is at the forefront of the fight against populism and that 2019 will be crucial for the country and for Europe.
“The forces of the extremes are on the rise. I am absolutely certain that New Democracy will not just win the next election but above all, that Kyriakos Mitsotakis will be an excellent Prime Minister,” he said.
Speaking at the opening day of the conference on Friday night, Mitsotakis said the upcoming elections would be a clash between two visions: “The side of Europe, democracy and reforms, pitted against navel-gazing, paralysis and poverty.”
He also pledged to link the minimum wage to the country’s growth rate and offer a benefit of 2,000 euros for each child in a bid to tackle the country’s declining birth rate.