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Konstantinos Mitsotakis’ government had got ahead of its time

27 February 2013 / 18:02:33  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova

Former Prime Minister of Greece Konstantinos Mitsotakis dedicated to Bulgaria almost a whole page in his book entitled "Ahead of its time - the government of New Democracy 1990 - 1993", in which he strikes the balance of his government. Here is what the memoirs written by his closest associates state:

"Mr. Mitsotakis started the contacts with Bulgaria in early 1991 and the relations between the two countries took the right direction after the signing of the cooperation agreement between the general staffs of the armies and the joint statement that there is not a "Macedonian minority" in either country".

"Mr. Mitsotakis started the contacts with Bulgaria in early 1991 and the relations between the two countries took the right direction after the signing of the cooperation agreement between the general staffs of the armies and the joint statement that there is not a "Macedonian minority" in either country".

It is worth noting that after the first visit of Konstantinos Mitsotakis to Bulgaria, the situation worsened because the centre-right space in Bulgaria did not help to further improve the bilateral relations. And this despite the assistance New Democracy had provided to the centre-right parties in the countries of the Balkans (in Bulgaria and Albania) in order to preserve the good relations with the two sides of the political spectrum amid the significant political changes taking place at that time. The investment of New Democracy failed especially in Bulgaria mainly due to the strong position of the Turkish minority, which is a constant factor of influence within the Bulgarian political stage".

According to witnesses of the events in Bulgaria, the money from New Democracy was used by the blue politicians for their election campaign.

The book of the former Prime Minister presents the way in which his government dealt with the problems of the Greek economy, the high budget deficit and the public sector, which was overburdened with employees in the period from 1990 to 1993.

Mitsotakis took office after two terms of the socialist government of PASOK and some successive coalition governments. He and his ministers tried to push through reforms, which encoutnered the fierce opposition of trade unions. The book presents specific data indicating their success in cutting the budget deficit and achieving primary surpluses in 1992, "without raising tax rates" as stated by its editor and finance minister in the government of the time Ioannis Paleokrasas.

"Some might ask why we have chosen this time to write and present the book. Neither political motives nor a desire for self-righteousness are hiding behind this. It is a reaction to what has been happening in Greece over the last five years. We want to show with the book that Greek society faced the same problems in the past and that there is hope and an experience that can provide a solution and a way out of the crisis", said Paleokrasas.

"Some might ask why we have chosen this time to write and present the book. Neither political motives nor a desire for self-righteousness are hiding behind this. It is a reaction to what has been happening in Greece over the last five years. We want to show with the book that the Greek society faced the same problems in the past and that there is hope and an experience that can provide a solution and a way out of crisis".In his speech, Konstantinos Mitsotakis pointed out a major difference between his and the present Greek coalition government. "Our government had a unique advantage. It was that I had not made any promises to the Greek people in any of the three election races. I had told the truth and in a very cruel manner several times. Thus I had prepared the people for the hard road that we had to tread".

As a result of his frankness and the subsequent reforms, Konstantinos Mitsotakis’ name had become synonymous with radical politics for years. True to his reputation, he announced his support for limiting public administration and reducing bureaucracy, stressing that this was not likely to happen without layoffs in the public sector, which is something that neither today's government nor their ancestors have the courage to recognize.

To confirm the importance of Konstantinos Mitsotakis’ policy that has been recently denied, the editors of the book presented the opinion of former Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Economic Affairs Henning Christoffersen:

"If Konstantinos Mitsotakis and his government had not been prevented from implementing the reforms they had planned, Greece would have been among the most economically prosperous countries in the euro zone today".

"If Konstantinos Mitsotakis and his government had not been prevented from implementing the reforms they had planned, Greece would have been among the most economically prosperous countries in the euro zone today". Today, no one in Greece is able to assess whether the reforms were actually possible in a highly politicized society permeated by populism. But the fact is that many commentators and ordinary Greeks are aware that all subsequent governments, the only exception being that of Costas Simitis, accelerated the pace towards the abyss in which the country has found itself over the last few years.

Tags: PoliticsKonstantinos MitsotakisBookGovernmentReformsBulgaria
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