Government’s aim is to correct injustices and inequalities, Alt. Econ Min Pitsiorlas says
“The government‘s aim is to correct the extreme injustices and inequalites created during the period of the memoranda and we believe that the decision for the increase of the minimum wage is a very important step,” stated Alternate Economy Minister Stergios Pitsiorlas on Tuesday, referring to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ announcements at the Cabinet meeting on Monday.
“We want to regularise wage-related issues and slowly get back to normality and not have such low salary levels. Of course, we are fully aware that we are still at the beginning, that this is only one step, which must obviously be followed by development measures, relief measures that also target enterprises. There is an overall plan and I believe that the criticism from the opposition parties is confused and unfocused,” said Pitsiorlas.
Referring to the privatisations, he said that these will proceed and explained: “Of course, there are some major issues that are difficult and need time, for example the issue with Hellenic Petroleum, which is a huge company, the airport issue and DEPA. I believe that the pressure imposed is mostly due to the existing fear that we may interrupt the processes but they are progressing”.
“The government has a comprehensive plan. The first is to try with a series of measures to invigorate social cohesion, to help the social strata that suffered the greatest losses during the period of the memoranda. The second is to proceed with reforms in all sectors, the third is to move on to growth measures and finally to safeguard the country’s position in the wider region,” he said, adding that this programme is being implemented simultaneously and will start bearing fruit.
On concerns expressed by enterpreneurs over the ratification of the Prespes Agreement and its impact on companies whose brand includes the term Macedonia or its derivatives, Pitsiorlas clarified: “There has been a great fuss over nothing. First of all, the Agreement solves all these issues because it makes provision for procedures to ensure that nothing is lost. The truth is that only a few brands that use the term Macedonia have been certified, either nationally or on a European level. This is because the brand we are building internationally refers to the Greek brand, it concerns the name Greece and the place of origin of products while there was little effort until today in reference to the term Macedonia…. There is a procedure and those interested in establishing a brand with the term Macedonia, because there has not been much interest to date, can do so and then use it forever.”
Asked about the agreement concerning Hellenic Steel, the minister said that it is a very important development and expressed his belief that there will soon be a court ruling and the company will be placed under a restructuring plan. “It is an initiative to find a strategic investor, for the plant to reopen and for very large investments to be made, we are talking about a plan of 100 million euros in the next years, that will invigorate both the national economy and that of Thessaloniki.”