I do not wish, I am certain, that your excitement results from this major success of this great organization, the fourth in a row, intending to achieve substantive solutions to old and new problems.
Because, often, life proves that former solutions have created new problems. And, eventually, it was proven that they did not offer any solutions.
So we have to look for new and meaningful ones.
I am sure that this institutional innovation, to talk, the government to visit, if I am allowed to say, each region and not the regional governor to turn to the government asking, this may have a very substantial perspective under one condition:
If it is not exhausted in each region during the conference process but, also, to acquire institutional continuity.
Because I believe, participation as well, the great response not only of the local authorities, mayors, and the region but also all the productive bodies of each sector, has shown that there is a fertile ground for cooperation.
And that is the key message we want to deliver. We are at a time when without the effort to synthesize and create consensus wherever possible, the problems cannot be addressed. And that may be something we have to keep in mind.
When we started this effort there were some people who had a particular bias. I remind you, of course, that some urged regional governors not to attend. Some urged institutions not to participate.
The life itself overcame those along with the worrying of Local Government and its bodies, regardless of political identity, and the productive bodies themselves, for discussion, synthesis and solution search.
I listened with caution to the regional governor of Thessaly and the President of the Union of Regions, who from the first moment responded to this effort, together with the other twelve regional governors, to talk about the need to jointly seek solutions to the institutional transformation concerning the Local Government and in particular the structure of the regions.
And I would like to say, starting my speech on the issues of Thessaly that this dialogue with Local Government, and especially with the regions, may be the next important step after the regional dialogue on productive reconstruction.
There are mature breakthroughs to be made, we are open to discussing with you and the mayors, and we will do bold breakthroughs, if necessary through dialogue and synthesis.
But you also have to realize that, when all of us around you and you often say in your speeches that it is time for consensus and conciliation, you cannot deny a great institutional democratic breakthrough that prescribes a framework and forces the Local Government to enter in the context of dialogue, composition, consensus and conciliation.
That is the proportional representation in Local Government as well.
I would therefore like to say from the start that the debate on productive reconstruction, about a new model that we need, about a new production model, must essentially start through the critical assessment of the model that brought us here.
Are you aware that if in a magical way we were in 2009 before the crisis, and we continued on the same path, the same model, the one including reinforcement of services, stock market bubbles, fake loans, subsidies to people of our own and in terms of production to deplete community funding and subsidies, regardless of whether or not we produce. That is, to decouple subsidies from production.
This, therefore, was the model with mathematical precision that would lead us to the crisis, sooner or later.
If, of course, one combines it with extensive corruption, wretched political manipulation, and a negative economic climate at European level, they could understand why Greece has become the “black sheep” in Europe that experienced the economic crisis in such way from 2009 and on.
Therefore, today, when we emerge from this crisis, the optimism begins and becomes more and more confident, and begins to be visible. At least the numbers show this in all sectors.
And here we have to work to make it visible in our everyday life that the country is exiting this seven-year adventure.
Now is the time to think about it. Are we ready for major breakthroughs? Are we ready to come together and plan the future?
There, where the comparative advantages of this place exist. And it has comparative advantages.
And, now, I will say that Thessaly is and has always been the pillar of the productive prospect of Greece. So this is the place where we should start a new model, free from the distortions of the past.
And allow me to begin, before addressing the issues of Thessaly, insisting on this reference on the optimistic messages regarding the exit from the crisis.
It is now clear that the economy has entered a recovery trajectory. Predictions, after many years, are extremely optimistic.
Our estimation, with what we have seen so far, is that after the second evaluation was closed, we actually had an “explosion” in investment assisted by tourism and private consumption.
We have the feeling that 2017 will close with the number 2 in front as far as growth rates are concerned.
While even our bitter friends, to express it in this way, those who usually have always underestimated the potential of the Greek economy since 2015, while on the contrary at the beginning of the crisis they overestimated it when we had a 7% recession and said we would have 3% and we had recession of 4% and said that we would have gain growth from 2015 on, their estimations were constantly lower.
So now, even the International Monetary Fund estimates that in 2018 we will have a 2.65% growth.
I believe that we can reach higher in 2018. And what do these numbers mean?
That we will be one of the countries with the highest Eurozone growth rates.
Most importantly, however, we must now come to terms with each other and above all about one thing: What kind of growth do we want? Why did we have high rates? Of course, we have seen these growth rates since 2008. But before 2008 we also saw 3% and 4%.
Where did this growth go? Have social infrastructures been created to protect society and the most vulnerable in the years of the great crisis that came after?
So, my friends, I think that the crucial issue is growth from now on and not just numbers and statistics.
But to refer to the citizens ‘everyday life. And I think our debate, here, on designing a national development plan, a new productive model, is the national affair of the next five years.
And I, also, want to make it clear that our developmental choice is neither the demolition of labour relations nor the abolition of collective agreements nor the disintegration of the welfare state. Why can we have high growth rates, and no labour relations, and no welfare state? This will be a growth of unemployment and unfairness. That is why we have, besides the word development, added the word fair.
Because our development will be fair or will not exist.
We know that leaders in development policy are countries that focus on planning, programming, transparency, but also on high-level training, on fair paid work, on the diffusion of growth profits and the benefits of growth across society, on enlargement freedoms and rights, respect for the environment, culture, learning, and education.
The basic principles of our own perception, of our own design for development are:
First and foremost, we want growth to create decent and stable jobs. And not just profits for the few.
We want the benefit of growth to diffuse into society. And not end up in a few pockets.
We want growth to keep pace with the environment and respect natural resources.
We want growth to be based on the interconnection of productive sectors, extroversion and the production of high added value products.
Against this background, after concluding the Conferences and following the Regional Development Plan, the goal is to set up the National Development Plan in the 13 Regions. And I would say that it would be of great value to establish an institutional continuity in what we are doing here. Not just be another passing day and then leave. But from now on, as soon as the 13 Conferences have been completed at the regional level and printed on paper, we all know it and this is our own memorandum.
Another memorandum, a positive memorandum, in order for the words to stop unambiguously having a negative meaning. Let’s see how we will be in a constant dialogue to implement what we are deciding. Because the follow up, the so-called here in the villages of Thessaly, is extremely important, not just the announcements.
I will start my friends by addressing a subject that has been highlighted by both the Mayor and the Regional Governor, a subject for which I have paraphrased the saying that our beloved Regional Governor has said at the end in connection with the old solutions that created new problems instead of being solutions.
Firstly, I want to say a few words about the issue of Acheloos. I am closer to the rational approach put forward by the Mayor. You know, I’m going to speak, in general, not just about the Acheloos issue, but also about the subject of water management in general.
Indeed, it concerns both sustainability and the development and reconstruction of agricultural production and, in extension, all other productive activities. The issue has not occupied our thoughts just now, we have been worried for years, as I remember myself, since the 1980s, and we have been supposed to have solved the problem for 25 years.
We did not solve it, these years unfortunately did not proceed with other projects necessary for the management of waters and Thessaly is threatening with desertification. And to respond to a suspicion that was heard, somebody did not try to open the Conference before for a particular reason. There is conditionality. We have to deal with the problem of the waters of the region to make use of the rural development program and to integrate resources. We cannot always hide the problem under the carpet or pass it over. We need to look for the optimum path for the best possible result.
So, I think that local society should pay attention to the dialogue and consultation to find all available solutions. Besides, all the development scenarios that have been formulated in recent years for the area, for the Region, have been linked to Acheloos diversion, but we have to realize where we are today. Not where we were 25 years ago, or 10 years ago, or 5 years ago. It was an option that delayed other infrastructure projects, allowed overconsumption of water due to zero environmental control. And it has led the plain to a serious deadlock.
The estimation is that over 3 billion cubic meters of untreated water have been consumed. And each year, from this non-renewable water, an amount of 150 million cubic meters is pumped. Which means that with mathematical precision we lead to desertification.
The Acheloos diversion plan, which never took the form of a coherent action plan, has been rejected for environmental reasons by 6 decisions of the Council of State. And there is still a new issue in the CoE.
And, moreover, I would add that there is a clear contrast following with institutional and legal European texts, which, for irrigation and hydroelectric projects, favor solutions within the catchment areas.
Hence, this great idea of deflecting, and bearing it on the development of the place, creates a high insecurity and uncertainty that no one really tried in the past to solve with a viable scenario.
The delay in the projects within the catchment area was due to the maintenance of the idea of Acheloos diversion. That is, the diversion became the justification for the under-funding of Thessaly.
On the other hand, I want to make it clear that the solution proposed by the government is not geared to proposals for dry crops or crop breakdowns that have been deposited from time to time. We choose to maintain the area of the irrigated areas of Thessaly. That is, we propose a plan that basically supports irrigation.
Thus the revised River Basin Management Plan includes, in principle, reducing water consumption through reducing losses and rationalizing irrigation methods.
From this first step that we all agree, there is no one who does not agree to that, that these projects must be done, we must begin. Because there is a different view that we have and we say let’s start with it, let’s implement this and then discuss what it is necessary. No to wait, and do nothing. So let’s start with what we agree on.
The plan, also, provides for five local dams and water transport and distribution projects already approved and considered to be routed.
A 250 cubic centimeter demand is proposed to be made from many new dams in Thessaly, from water reservoirs to lowland areas and from reuse of treated waste water for irrigation and artificial enrichment of underground aquifers. While for the unfinished projects, I heard from the Regional Governor, if I’m not wrong about Sykia, for the unfinished projects, the possibility of hydroelectric production should be explored.
The additional cost of these actions in relation to the diversion of Acheloos amounts to € 625 million. In the coming period, the government will table a proposal to cover them.
Already these days we have discussed the coverage of the NSRF and the Rural Development Program as well as new European and National Resources.
An exhaustive discussion of the issue has taken place, both within the framework of the Conference and in the past, with the presence in the region of the Deputy Minister of Environment and Energy, Socrates Famelos.
I would like to repeat once again that what interests us is to reach at a solution that is realistic, environmentally sustainable and really helpful for the development of agricultural production. But it is not only Acheloos who has opened talks about the management of the waters of Thessaly.
Another water management project, which is mainly of an environmental character and is expected to be completed in 2017, is the “Recreation of the Carla Lake”. With a series of coordinated actions, let me remind you that it is a project that when it started to materialize, you may have forgotten, in 1999.
With a series of concerted actions, from the beginning of 2015, we accelerated all the process of implementing the project and solved the problems that led to delays.
This project is of multiple importance to the Region of Thessaly and has a total budget of 224 million euros.
Today the project is implemented by the Region of Thessaly with co-funded resources. And I think that there is the possibility of completion by the end of the year, and that was our joint commitment a little while ago we all discussed together at the meeting of ministers with the Regional Governor and the mayor.
I will now refer to the primary sector, friends, agricultural production is today facing two major challenges.
One is linked to the pressures on the Union Budget and the Common Agricultural Policy.
And the other is linked to increased demand for agricultural products, both in the European Union and in international markets. Trends that, after the important international contacts and agreements we have achieved as a government, have a developing momentum.
In such an environment, we must face up to the structural weaknesses of the primary sector.
Weaknesses that are the result of a specific policy of the past, despite the considerable resources that were directed to the agricultural sector by the European funds after the accession to the European Union.
In this context, the government is committed to promoting concrete measures:
These measures concern the following directions, allow me to refer to nine points:
First, the renewal of the rural population, through the support of young farmers.
Secondly, the re-start for the collective, cooperative forms of farmers, that is cooperatives, producer organizations, producer groups and social cooperative societies, but without the distortions and pathogens of the past. I was delighted to hear that today at these tables in this Conference there is a new flourishing, a new wave of cooperative organization, a cooperative organization to say so.
Thirdly, highlighting the quality of Greek products. And, of course, the national and local certification of this quality. Particularly in response to the demanding systems of China and Russia.
Fourthly, the control and rationalization of the operation of the agricultural products market and the protection of the consumer
Fifth, measures and actions against the illicit transfer of agricultural products, illicit nationalization, illegal imports and concerted practices in each sector and sector
Sixth, improving the marketing of agricultural products, aiming at maximizing agricultural product exports and managing export distribution networks. And here I have to say that for the promotion of exports is available in Thessaly, 6 million for the next three years.
Seventh point is the development of targeted sectoral plans and investments in specific branches of agricultural production. Such as aromatic and medicinal plants, medicinal plants, crops with high added value
The eighth point is the development of research and innovation and the support of agricultural production by new scientific potential. Today I had an excellent meeting in Magnesia, in Volos, I had an excellent meeting with representatives of start-ups that have incorporated innovation and which, with the help of some of them, the University of Thessaly, which basically functions and is an excellent effort there, as a new technology nursery, I have found that there are really pioneers – not just for Greece but on a global scale of highly applied research on agricultural production.
Finally, the ninth point is the extension and upgrading of rural infrastructure. This is why we have claimed and achieved an agreement with the institutions to direct an extra EUR 300 million over a three-year period to programs to improve and develop the necessary infrastructure in the countryside, such as rural roads, irrigation channels, and land reclamation projects.
All the above points concern the productive reconstruction of the primary sector and will be structured in a medium-term national plan for which all stakeholders will soon be invited to submit documented positions and proposals.
I am now refering to the Rural Development Program. The revised Program was adopted in December 2015 and concerns community and national resources totaling € 6 billion in just 18 months from the adoption of the new Program. More than € 3 billion of public spending is committed for proposals and ongoing projects. That is, about half of what the program has already committed.
In this short time, we have secured the co-funding of all the unfinished public and private projects of the previous programming period from the new resources, without burdening national resources. Payments are normally executed by repaying obligations to producers, payments many of which have been pending for many years.
Unlike the past, our strategic choice in the implementation of the new Program is our cooperation with the regions of the country.
Assigning to them important competences as well as resources that exceed 37% of the total resources of the Rural Development Program. From the beginning of 2018, all the measures with the greatest financial weight will have been announced.
Finally, we are expanding decisively and in open dialogue with the European institutions on the possibilities for an immediate revision of the system of rights allocation.
Because, friends, it is our wish not to continue to premium “supposedly producers”, as the governments of the past did with their political choices and lead us here that led us.
A practice that has worked at the expense of real producers, at the expense of production in general and above all at the expense of new producers.
For the most effective promotion of Greek agri-food products on the international markets, we started from the NSRF a very important program, with a budget of 34.5 million euros, for the formulation of the Greek mark on agri-food products.
The program intends to develop a single identity and quality label for agri-food products. To certify the quality of these products based on best international practices. But also to promote the recognition of agri-food products in international markets based on the Greek Trade Mark. Through targeted programs such as the “Business Abroad”, with a budget of € 30 million, we support small and medium-sized businesses to develop export activity at every stage of the process.
But overall, through all the NSRF programs and the new Entrepreneurship Development Law, we support the companies that are engaged in export activity and the results are already beginning to appear in the numbers and figures recorded in 2017.
However, I would like to note at this point that the question is not the support of a sector of the economy apart from the others. We need to see what is called the creation of value chains. And, consequently, creating products with higher added value.
And in order to achieve this goal, we have to link the various branches of production activity more closely together.
The new Development Law, which is also oriented, I would say now more than ever, to stimulate the secondary sector, manufacturing, industry, places particular emphasis on agri-food.
And so in this way, we can reinforce both areas at the same time. And when we support the innovation and extroversion of the enterprises engaged in manufacturing we can have many significant results.
Allow me here to make a small reference. We often hear comparisons about the Development Law between the number of proposals that it now attracts and the many proposals of previous Developments.
But those who make this comparison forget to tell us that the package of the previous laws was perfunctory for competitiveness. It was unequal, shaped by doubtful evaluations and lacking funding. I will tell you only one thing, 95% of the proposals were of low technology.
Only 4.2% of the companies received 43.6% of the grants. This structural inequality caused these past development laws. Few companies received almost half of the money. And of course all the others were sharing the rest. Small investment plans were crowding out.
The evaluators were underpaid, few were active and not properly trained. This environment favored, if not was created for this, customer relationships, while in 2015 we received 6,000 incomplete plans and debts of 6 billion euros to investors.
Today’s Development Law favors small and medium-sized enterprises, knowledge-intensive activities, and business synergies and networking. While the staffing potential that evaluates investment programs has substantially improved.
Our industry plan is based on the three-pronged “integrated value chains – extroversion – environmental sustainability”.
In Thessaly, total submissions to the New Development Law so far amount to 134 million euros, about 7% of the country’s submissions. Of these, about 40% is in the industry sector. Of these applications, in the framework of the Development Law, one in two applications for the region concern agri-food and especially its manufacturing sector.
In total, 27 proposals were submitted with a total budget of 57.5 million euro. At the same time, through the new Infrastructure Fund, which will begin operating in the coming months, € 1 billion will finance critical infrastructure projects in Renewable Energy, Environment and Industry through the financing of industrial, craft parks.
And yet, by 2021, € 300 million will be allocated to energy upgrading energy-intensive industries and manufacturing plants to save energy and reduce production costs.
Together with the other financial instruments that we are implementing, EquiFund, Entrepreneurship Fund II and the Microcredit Fund, we cover a large part of the financial gap – because to speak truthfully, one of the biggest problems for entrepreneurship, especially for manufacturing, industry was the lack of financial tools since the banks ceased playing their real role, their role in the real economy.
With these tools, we aim to strengthen the most healthy, dynamic and productive parts of Greek entrepreneurship in Thessaly and across the country. And of course to say that a strategic initiative is the decision to establish the Development Bank, which we believe will be able to finance the real economy until spring. And, of course, our choice to move on to micro-credit schemes for small businesses and small entrepreneurs who will have the working capital to take their first steps. Because only in this way will we be able to take advantage of the new environment, the growth dynamics of moving the real economy, and entrepreneurship.
The study of the data for Thessaly and the contact with the local bodies showed that the issue of innovative entrepreneurship is a key issue for the region. We believe that this momentum opens a big window to the future. Particularly, we will ensure the conditions under which innovation and entrepreneurship will be linked to traditional sectors of production.
An important role in this is considered to be the Center for Business Innovation, Technology and Interdisciplinary Research, I mentioned before, for the University of Thessaly.
From our side, we contribute with the financing with national funds of 10.5 million euros for the restoration of the yellow warehouse building in Volos for the installation of the center.
With the expectation, of course, that it is not only an important focal point for Volos but embrace all of Thessaly. Joined in such a single research and technology organization, we see the functioning of the Averofius Agricultural School.
With the aim of upgrading its operation and its effective connection with agricultural production.
Research support is also being promoted through one of the most emblematic NSRF programs, I Research – I Create – I Innovate. With public resources exceeding € 430 million, it will finance research and innovation, and in particular the partnership of enterprises and research institutions to promote applied research and the economic and business exploitation of mature research results.
Through this program, for Thessaly, projects totaling 89 million euros have been proposed for scholarships for young researchers. In addition, € 43.7 million from the “Entrepreneurship-Innovation Competitiveness” program will be made available to businesses in Thessaly.
But our logic is not exhausted in numbers. I want to be clear about this. The period is recent, we all remember that the flow of resources to the economy was much greater. But it did not help in productive reconstruction. Salvage of resources in clientele ways that did not honor the political system. And that is one of the reasons we have come here. All programs will be evaluated. And every euro available, either from national resources or from financial instruments such as the NSRF, must have a multiplier effect on the recovery of the economy and society.
I will now address the subject of tourism. There is no doubt that this year we have had an excellent year reaching a new record as we have been performing in recent years. It is perhaps one of the most dynamic sectors of the Greek economy and this is also the case for Thessaly.
Our goal, tourism development, is in harmony with the environment.
Operate in scales that do not disturb the overall life and productive function of the site.
Harmonize with other productive activities and connect with them.
And, of course, to ensure sustainable labour relations.
The call for 120m euros from the NSRF to set up new tourism enterprises will be announced immediately.
Recently the results were announced for the action that finances the upgrading of tourism enterprises. In Thessaly, there were high-level proposals. Of the 124 submitted, 96% was positively evaluated and 116 interim beneficiaries will be subsidized with 6.2m euros.
I will speak about the issue of upgrading the quality of life, especially in cities. It is well known that our government is following an established policy of concession areas for public use.
Thus, for the city of Larissa, the mayor, the Ministry of National Defense has already consented to the concession of the camp “Buga”, as well as of a part of the “Tzimas” camp, in order to give it to the inhabitants as places of culture and recreation.
We are, also, concerned about the restoration of the Ancient Theater of Larissa, a project that is important not only for the region but for the whole of Greece.
Most of the studies for this theater have already been completed. The next step is joining finance programs.
The project is estimated to last about three years. The cost is estimated at around 3 million euros and the space will accommodate 4,000 spectators.
It is clear that this work is particularly important for the cultural life of the region and the importance of the works of other ancient theaters in Larissa and the prefecture of Magnesia, which will be directly programmed.
But I think what we have to keep in mind here is that in about three years we will do the inauguration together.
In any case, a productive reconstruction plan cannot advance if it is not based on infrastructure.
In any case, a productive reconstruction plan cannot advance if it is not based on infrastructure. Allow me to focus on a number of issues where local society attaches particular importance.
I will start from the railroad. For the electrification of the Paleoparsala-Kalampaka line a grant application has been submitted by the Regional Operational Program. The budget is 42.5 million euros and auctioning will take place in 2017.
For the electrification of the Larissa-Volos line: The project has already been included in the Operational Program “Infrastructure, Transport, Environment, Sustainable Development” with a budget of 54 million euros. At this stage, studies and tender dossiers are completed.
Both of these projects will be launched by the end of the year. Their implementation will allow the launching of power-driven trains to and from the central rail network, with greater security and no need for passengers to change trains. But without the need for transshipment of products, which will significantly improve the development conditions of the entire region.
On road projects, to which I have to admit that we have put an important stumbling block to avoid being distracted when we go to Brussels. Twenty-five years ago this road began to be made by PATHE. If I’m not mistaken, Konstantinos Karamanlis. But it is important that these works did not progress.
We will not be misunderstood. No one will be misunderstood. Because there is a point of coincidence here. I heard it before: The rich want to go to public hospitals and not the poor in private. This is the point of coincidence.
But this is a sign of coincidence against the notion of neo-liberalism. Because neoliberalism wants to be able to access those who have the financial capacity to access health services. He wants access to social protection by anyone who has the financial capacity. So this is a field of coincidence that may be going through the political fragmentations and that’s what I want to keep. Because what we are all about – we all want to believe – is to give content to the term “fair development”, to the term “justice”. And righteousness with the notion of neoliberalism cannot coexist.
I’m returning to the issue of Road network. One of the jokes if you want is the E65 motorway. Because this work, like others in the country, has had great adventures.
E65, allow me to say, it is an irresponsible monument, especially in terms of the downgrading of the two extreme parts of the road. That is to say the middle section without its two ends.
Great effort has been made to disengage the work from the enormous problems with which it has surrendered to us. Within the time, the southern section is about to begin, and our commitment is that in 2018 the northern will also begin.
The E65 will be a complete project that will bring Thessaly closer to the rest of Greece. And I have the feeling that it will also help in the acceleration not only of Thessaly with Central Greece but also of the cities of Thessaly, especially Trikala and Karditsa.
At the same time for the road network of the region, we are proceeding to a new project of road safety projects that is a matter of absolute priority for us.
The project is based on studies of “Egnatia Motorway SA”, which identified the most dangerous points of the road network. The first phase of this program for Thessaly will amount to approximately € 40 million.
It will be funded by the European Investment Bank and the Public Investment Program and will be implemented by the Region and Egnatia Motorway SA.
For the port of Volos: A program contract between the University of Thessaly, the Volos Port Authority, Hellenic Railway Organization (OSE), GAIAOSE and ERGOSE will be signed in the near future, which will provide for a study on combined transport in the area.
In addition, the National Public Investment Program includes 12 road studies covering several problematic sections of the road network of the region, with a budget of 7.5 million euros.
And to see that we are not working on whether a local elected person is in our party or not. In 2016, we increased the National Strand of the Public Investment Program for Thessaly by 234%. And that despite the extremely tight fiscal data.
Let me say that for our own sake, effective savings are always in line with a redistribution plan. And this is true in every case. Whether in times of crisis or in recovery.
For 2017, we have already approved an additional € 28.8 million from national funds for mature projects. These are works to repair damage from natural disasters, flood protection projects, infrastructure projects for culture.
Our plan includes a new program, complementary to the NSRF, with the cooperation of the European Investment Bank and the Deposits and Loans Fund.
It concerns projects of municipal competence in order to meet the basic needs in infrastructure and mainly in the water, sewage, waste management.
At the same time, it has been possible to finance water and sanitation projects from the public investment program at 100% of their budget, eliminating the restriction that provided for the financing of such projects only up to 35%.
While the implementation of projects amounting to € 30.1 million has been initiated from the NSRF in the area of wastewater and water management, totaling € 20.6 million in the water sector.
With regard to solid waste management: This is an area in which we have to overcome the bad past of the country that wants us to stop in the European Union. And there needs to be more effort. And it will be paid. The state’s support for the region’s efforts in this area will be as strong as possible.
I want to conclude with a reference to the health sector.
We are continuing our major effort to upgrade existing infrastructures, but we are in the process of implementing a very important reform of Primary Health Care.
It is the most important reform in the social welfare state, which can significantly enhance both the public health sector and the ability of citizens to access direct health services. We are proceeding with the gradual development of the new Primary Health Care Model, with the first four Local Health Units in Thessaly, one in each prefecture.
12 health units have been designed in 4 major cities. While the Regional Operational Program has included equipment purchases of 6 million euros, 4 projects with a budget of 2.7 million euros are waiting for the next call.
We complete through the NSRF the projects for the procurement and installation of a CT scan at the Karditsa hospital and a magnetic tomographic machine at the General Hospital of Larissa. Perhaps for this report I should not be applauding. Because it is not an example of a country that at the heart of Europe, in the Eurozone, in such big cities, in the general hospital of Karditsa there is no axial tomographic and that there is no magnetic at Larissa’s hospital. But sometimes and the self-evident when they occur probably are worthy of applause.
And finally I say that the new building of the Health Center in Skiathos is being delivered immediately. And let us not forget that our islands, the islands of Thessaly, belong to the region. Perhaps one of the most beautiful areas not only of Thessaly but also of Greece.
I think I had no choice but to bore you because I had to mention them. I had to mention them for two reasons. Firstly, because they are the composition, the distillate from this two-day process, everything that has been discussed and found with the bodies and the Local Government.
And secondly, after hearing from the Prime Minister’s mouth, there is only one way. To be implemented. That is why I commit personally and commit ourselves to the fact that this institutional innovation will follow in the coming years. This ministerial council, which was held a short while ago with about 15-17 ministers, the deputies of the region, I would hope and would expect all parties to participate, perhaps at our next meeting, and the mayor and the regional governor, to have continuity.
And I believe that in the next time our goal must be everything we have been discussing. Those in which there are still disagreements. And why disagreements are the quintessence of democracy.
The point is to sit at the discussion table, the mayor to take the stand, the district governor to deliver their disagreements, the Prime Minister take under consideration, the cabinet to take it into account and plan together.
We have to realize that this great national adventure because that it was what the country has been through the last few years and cannot overcome this if we do not transcend it. Transcendences in the way we think, exceed the way we design. Already what we do it is not about the next two years of office. It is about our next four years. We plan for the next day. We plan for the next day of the crisis. Of the post-memorandum Greece
We have to overcome ourselves and, above all, we have to realize that we need to deal with substance rather than communication. And the essence is that this country has unparalleled potential. Great advantages and we need to use them. The time when there was or there would be someone to lead us to safety, it does not exist. Resources have been exhausted with the country’s accession to the European Union.
Exhausted possibilities with the country’s membership in EMU and at some point these possibilities turned against us. So now we need to realize the space and time. Where we stand. We are at the end of a great national adventure, we must learn from this adventure, make our assessment because we have been led into this crisis and make great breakthroughs. Radical breakthroughs everywhere.
As far as the model of production is concerned, with regard to the institutional model of governance and organization, local government, administration, this area needs major reforms. And bravery is needed. It takes courage.
So, I am particularly pleased that s great part of society, local communities in all regional congresses, local government electors, despite contradictions, disagreements that certainly have to do with our citizens judging and continue to, and so we need to keep the weighing. There are elections ahead for the local government as well.
So they’re alert. I understand. But what makes me more optimistic each time I visit and talk at these regional conferences that for the first time we break a taboo.
We are together, we are planning, composing and believe that Thessaly can become the field that we will experiment, if you wish, and apply this new model.
Apart from tourism, tourism is positive for us, we have strengthened it, and we will continue, but we cannot succeed based only on tourism.
We must also strengthen the primary sector, the secondary sector to exploit the combination of the blessed fruits of this land, quality agricultural products, be able to get Greek label, be processed and exploited. Because, there is a wide market for these products that is tourism and the 30 million tourists who came this year in the country and that can become and 40 and 50 million and the exports.
So by investing in the comparative advantages of this place, investing primarily in human capital, human capital, young creative people, new scientists who have to bring them back and stop the leak by investing in creative Greece, innovation, we can forward.
We can overcome the crisis and build another Greece. Creative, productive, Greece of labour, of creation but above all ifairer. Greece, fair and creative.