Buenas tardes y gracias por venir [Good afternoon and thank you for coming]
It’s great to see so many of you here: passionate about your party; passionate about your futures; passionate about your country.
And it’s great to be back here in this beautiful city. Hola Valencia! [Hello Valencia]
Sebastian, it’s a pity you couldn’t be here with us. Pablo, thank you for inviting me to be here, it’s a great honor to be able to briefly address this wonderful crowd.
Not only are we political friends, but the bond that unites us makes us part of a wider political family.
A family of similar outlook, of shared values, of hopes for the future; hopes not just for our respective countries, but for the European Union and Europe as a whole.
I’m delighted to be able to be here today. Not least because in Pablo Casado I believe that the People’s Party has a leader with energy, vision, ambition, and wisdom.
Pablo, you understand that what unites us all here today is a belief in the power of politics to make a difference to the everyday lives of people across this great Continent.
We do it not through increased taxation, burdensome regulation, or overbearing interference from the state. But through investment, reform and the creation of market conditions that drive entrepreneurship, jobs, growth and increased productivity.
That means exactly what we did in Greece: cutting taxes, reforming the labour market, developing green technology, using smart tech and digital innovation to drive better outcomes for our people.
These are the answers to the populism of the extreme left and the extreme right. And it is why we are collectively -as the European People’s Party- the most successful political movement in Europe.
Our politics is the politics of reform, of renewal and of freedom.
Our politics, dear Pablo, is centred around individual freedom, solid public finances, a strong economy, and the defence of human rights and democracy.
Dear Pablo, I don’t want to take much of your time because this wonderful crowd is here to listen to you, not me, and to give you a big round of applause. I just want to share with you some of the challenges my party, Nea Dimokratia, faced as we moved from the politics of the past to the position we occupy today. Because, as you know, no political journey is easy.
It requires belief, determination, fortitude, courage. Most of all it requires desire.
The desire to change, desire to renew, desire to compromise, to work harder – for longer – in pursuit of one’s political goals.
My dear friends,
I became Prime Minister of Greece a little over two years ago. We came to power on the back of crippling austerity, and as a progressive alternative to the failed populism of the left.
But our journey began long before that. Nea Demokratia or Nueva Democracia is not a new party. We celebrated our 47th birthday earlier this week.
But I do believe that today we are a different party, dear Pablo, in the same way that Partido Popular is a different party. A party that stands for something more progressive than even our founders could have imagined.
When I became leader of Nea Demokratia, back in 2016, the goal of making a difference for the people of Greece was still a long way off.
Just like you Pablo, I wasn’t the favourite to win the party leadership. But I did. And three years later we won the general election because we promised, not just our supporters but the Greek people, a new vision of renewal that they could believe in.
I can see that all of you here today share the same vision for renewal. A renewal based not on slogans and empty promises but on real change.
This is exactly what we did, Pablo, in spite of the pandemic, in spite of the migration problem, in spite of difficulties with Turkey. We stuck to our commitments, we lowered taxes for every Greek citizen, we cut bureaucracy, we introduced a digital state, we modernized our party in order for Nea Dimokratia to occupy today the entire space between the right and the progressive center. And the Greek people rewarded us with an absolute majority in the last election, to allow us to implement our program.
We have reached out beyond party lines, we brought together the best and brightest experts across the public and private sectors into government.
And as I told you, we have prioritised digitisation and the digital reform of the state, making it easier for everyone to access one central digital government platform.
So, ladies and gentlemen, what I am here to tell you is that this can be done. The populists of the extreme left, the equivalent to your Podemos, were defeated in the recent election by the progressive center-right party. And once you come to power I am sure you will share the same vision with us. A vision about not just a progressive Spain, a vision about a progressive Europe. A Europe that protects its borders. A Europe that puts European defence at the center of our policy. A Europe that makes sure that the funds from the RRF are used to improve the life of every European, to lower income inequality and to make sure that we all aspire to a common future.
Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t want to take more of your time, because you are here to listen to your leader, your new promising leader of Spain, Pablo Casado. It’s a great pleasure, a great honor that you have invited me here today, all the best, thank you so much.