Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ State Address

August 21, 2015 | categories : Uncategorized

fellow Greek citizens,

During the last few months we all experienced difficult and dramatic moments.

The tough negotiation with the creditors was a difficult challenge for both the government and the country.

The pressure, the blackmail, the ultimatums, the financial asphyxiation led to a situation without precedent.

We all lived through this.

However, we did so with patience, composure, and the endurance of our people.

The determination of our people, as recorded by the referendum.

The decision to change, to change the country, to change all that led us to the crisis and the deterioration of social conditions.

Let’s be clear:

Without this popular determination the creditors would have either completely imposed their will.

Or they would have led us to destruction.

This determination was present at each stage of the negotiations.

This determination reinforced our resolve, as we battled on a daily basis against the often-irrational demands and threats of the creditors.

Today, this difficult phase conclusively ends with the ratification of the agreement, the disbursement of the first instalment of the 23 billion euros and the payment of the country’s obligations both abroad and at home.

The economy will receive a boost. The market will normalize. The banks will soon return to regular activity.

Of course, this is not the end of the difficult situation that we have been facing for the last five years.

It is my conviction, however, that it can be—through consistent work and effort on all of our parts—the beginning of the end of this difficult situation.

The decisive step towards stabilizing the financing of our economy.

A beginning that won’t be easy, but that will hold prospects and possibilities.

As long as society is fully behind this.

Calm and determined, as during these past months.

My fellow Greek citizens,

I want to be completely honest with you.

We did not achieve the agreement that we were hoping to achieve prior to January’s elections.

We also did not experience the reaction that we had been anticipating.

In this battle we made concessions.

But we obtained a deal that — given the overwhelmingly negative conditions in Europe and the fact that we inherited the absolute attachment of the country to the memoranda terms — was the best that one could achieve.

We are obliged to adhere to this agreement but, at the same time, we will fight to minimize its negative consequences.

Based on the interests of the majority.

In order to reclaim, as soon as possible, our sovereignty against our creditors.

Without accepting their interpretations as infallible truths.

Without accepting horizontal cuts, the destruction of labor, the permanent decimation of the weakest social forces.

And we have already proven that we can do this, that we can persist and achieve a lot of things.

Consider the position of the partners prior to this agreement:

A five-month extension of the previous programme, full implementation of the previous government’s commitments and then new prerequisites.

At this time, following the referendum, we have an approved three-year deal, with secure funding.

Also bear in mind that the partners were asking for the immediate abolition of EKAS, the privatization of IPTO and of the secondary tier of the PPC.

The above were not accepted—a win for us on these issues.

The partners were also asking for the implementation of a zero deficit clause concerning the supplementary funds.

In the agreement there is an explicit reference regarding equivalent measures and we are ready to take up the charge on this.

Also, the restoration of labor relations and the prevention of the liberalization of collective redundancies in the private sector is our unwavering goal, and I believe we will achieve it.

The redundancies in the public sector are now a thing of the past and the school guards, the cleaners and the universities’ administrative staff have been restored to their positions.

There is no longer a 5 euro fee in the hospitals, while the recruitment process for 4,500 medical and nursing staff that are direly needed is moving ahead through the Supreme Council for Civil Personnel Selection (ASEP).

Let us also not forget that we have agreed upon dramatically smaller surpluses than the previous government, so that the fiscal adjustment – the required measures – is lower by 20 billion euros.

Furthermore, the new loan agreement is not subject to the colonial nature of English law that the Greek governments agreed upon in previous agreements, but rather is governed by European and international law, allowing our country to maintain all the privileges and immunities that safeguard public property.

And finally, this is the first time that the procedure concerning the write-down of the Greek debt has been determined in such an explicit and unequivocal manner, which is perhaps the most crucial aspect to solving the Greek problem.

We gained considerable ground but this does not mean that we achieved what we, and the people, expected.

My fellow Greek citizens,

Now that this difficult cycle has reached its end,

And contrary to the usual stance of many who unfortunately believe that they are entitled to keep their positions, their seats, their offices regardless of the conditions and circumstances

I feel a deep moral and political obligation for you to judge all that I have done.

Both the positive results and the mistakes.

Both the successes and the missteps.

That is why I have decided to go to the President of the Republic shortly, to submit my resignation, as well as the resignation of the government.

The scope of the popular mandate that I received on 25th January has been exhausted.

And now the sovereign people must express their opinion once more.

You, through your vote, will determine whether we represented the country with the determination and courage required during the difficult negotiations with the creditors.

You, through your vote, will decide whether the agreement achieved provides the conditions to overcome the crisis, for the economy to recover and for us to finally begin the efforts to put an end to the memoranda and the resultant harsh conditions.

You, through your vote, will decide who should lead Greece—and how—in this difficult, but at last promising, path ahead of us.

Who can better negotiate the debt write-down, and how that can be done.

Who can move forward—and how—at a confident and steady pace, with the necessary, deep, progressive reforms that the country needs.

Finally, you will judge all of us through your vote.

Those of us that consistently fought for our country, both here and abroad, so that Greece would not to find itself at gunpoint.

And those that claimed that Greece should receive loans, i.e. a memorandum, but in drachmas—as a matter of ideological consistency—who converted the majority that the people gave us, the first government of the Left in the country, into a parliamentary minority.

As well as those from the old political system and those colluding with their efforts, who during these past months called on us and pressed us, in line with the strictest creditors’ demands, to sign anything that was placed in front of us.

By even slandering our resistance as alleged stalling.

My fellow Greek citizens,

I rely on your judgment with a clear conscience.

Proud of the efforts made by my government, and my own.

During this entire period, I strived to remain faithful to what we had promised.

We negotiated decisively and persistently, and stayed the course.

We withstood pressures and blackmail.

It is true that we pushed matters to the brink for the people and the economy.

However, we also turned the Greek case into a global issue.

We turned the resistance of our people into an incentive of struggle for other European peoples.

And Europe will not be the same following these difficult six months.

The notion that an end must finally be put to austerity is gaining ground.

The differences among the democratic and progressive European forces are being increasingly felt.

And we, Greece, with a prestige and a scope much larger than our size, played, and are playing, a leading role in the forthcoming changes.

Greece will be at the forefront of the discussion concerning Europe’s future.

Yesterday, I submitted a written request to the President of the European Parliament that the European Parliament, as an institution with direct democratic legitimacy, play an active role in the Greek program.

Transparency, open democratic debate, democratic accountability and impact assessment will be an integral part from now on of the implementation of our agreement with the partners.

My fellow Greek citizens,

During this period, despite the tough negotiation and the difficult conditions, we also managed to engage in a different way of governing.

The one hundred-instalment regulation, the measures on the humanitarian crisis, the opening of ERT, the bill concerning the broadcasting frequencies, the law regarding immigrants, the decisive intervention to stop the environmental crime in Skouries, and dozens of other measures and initiatives are proof of our commitment to governing in a new way.

These actions also attest to our decision to change the country with courage and confidence, by capitalizing on social support for reform objectives.

We still have many battles ahead, this time within the country.

The fight against collusion and corruption, which we have already commenced.

The fight to finally have those who have been perennially benefiting to also pay, a group that no one has dared touch until now.

The battle for justice to be applied to those who until now have been above the law.

The fight against tax evasion, for a fair and stable tax system.

The mother of all battles–to change the state mechanism so that it becomes more effective.

Friendlier towards citizens.

Unfriendly towards political favors, partisanship and corruption.

And all of this requires a clear mandate and a strong government to firmly hold the course without wavering.

And above all, it requires the support of society.

The support of those who want changes in line with democracy, progressive reforms, transparency and justice.

My fellow Greek citizens,

I remain optimistic, despite the difficulties.

I believe that we have not yet experienced the positive outcomes that lie ahead, trapped until now by the pressures of the negotiation.

I will ask for the vote of the Greek people in order for us to govern and apply all aspects of our governmental programme.

More experienced, better prepared, more practical, but always committed to the ultimate goal of a free, democratic, and socially just Greece, we will remain dedicated and consistent as we face the new conditions.

I assure you, I will not forfeit nor will we forfeit our ideas and values.

Regardless of the difficulties.

And I invite all of you, together, to calmly and decisively fight for a better future for our country.

In these difficult times, we must hold on to—and champion—what matters most: our country and our democracy.

Thank you.