Cyprus Mail

‘Greece ought to have taken lessons from Cyprus on handling financial crisis’

The head of Greece’s Nea Dimokratia party, Kyriakos Mitsotakis with Disy leader Averof Neophytou in front of a bust of former president and Disy founder Glafcos Clerides

The head of Greece’s Nea Dimokratia party, Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Thursday his own should have taken lessons from Cyprus on how to handle the financial crisis.

Mitsotakis, who is on the island on a two-day visit for a series of contacts, met ruling Disy leader Averof Neophytou at the party’s offices in Nicosia.

Neophytou presented Mitsotakis, with a silver olive wreath and called him the next Prime Minister of Greece.  “Olive was and remains the symbol of hope and future, but we also crown winners with it,” he said.

“We present you with it because you will be the winner for Greece, and Greece’s next prime minister.”

Mitsotakis, in his comments, referred to the friendly relations and cooperation between the two parties.

He said he was on the island to convey his party’s support to Disy ahead of the Euro-elections and to reaffirm the strong ties between Greece and Cyprus but also between the two parties but to also praise Cyprus for the economic success over the last five years.

Greece, he said, ought to take lessons on how Cyprus handled a profound economic crisis, perhaps with slightly different characteristics than the crisis that Greece experienced.

“Cyprus has achieved what we haven’t achieved in Greece yet, to be able that is, to balance public finances, while at the same time achieving very high growth rates to the tune of four per cent,” he said. “You managed to consolidate public finances without raising taxes, by supporting healthy entrepreneurship, simplifying the business environment, attracting investments in sectors where Cyprus has had significant comparative advantages.”

This is also the goal of the next Nea Dimokratia government, he said, adding that fiscal consolidation cannot be achieved at the expense of the middle class, and it cannot be the main vehicle to impose excessive taxation on the productive economy.

Mitsotakis said that 2019 would be a crucial year for his party since the European elections were in May and the national elections due are to take place by October the latest.

“I think it will be an opportunity for our country, for a great political change, for a bold turn into the future, for another policy that will liberate the creative forces of Greek society and will finally allow Greece to run with fast rhythms into the future,” he said.

He expressed the certainty that his party will have the support of Disy in this endeavour.

Mitsotakis said that both parties belong to the largest political family of Europe, the European People’s Party and it was important that the PPE becomes the major European force in the coming European elections.

He expressed hope that the opportunity is given to Disy and Nea Dimokratia to simultaneously take the lead of their respective countries.

“I believe it will be for the best […] and to the benefit of Greece-Cyprus relations,” he said.

Neophytou said Disy sees in Mitsotakis the future of Greece and of Hellenism in general.

Soon, he said, the reins of Greece will be in Mitsotakis’ hands, “for a better Greece within an even better Europe.”

“Europe is our security and future,” he said, adding that through the two parties’ interventions and the EPP, “we can make Europe even better.”

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