Mitsotakis’ four-point plan for Greece
The election results in Greece show that people, or at least the 56% that voted, have had enough of the populist experiment led by Alexis Tsipras. With the Greek economy bleeding and its people disenchanted, the centre-right party New Democracy elected Kyriakos Mitsotakis as its new leader and won an outright parliamentary majority (39.85%, 158 seats). This offers Mitsotakis the opportunity to pursue the policies he promised during his campaign, many of which will be opposed by the rest of the parliament. The core of it consists of four action points:
The new government faces several challenges in implementing these four actions points. The major obstacle is posed by the international agreements in place. The departing Greek government agreed with its creditors on a budgetary surplus of 3.5% until 2022. Mitsotakis’ intended decreases in taxation cannot be achieved under such high surplus targets and a renegotiation with the creditors will be necessary before implementing any tax reforms. In light of the election outcome, European officials stated explicitly that they expect Greece to honour the agreement of the previous government, despite the arguments provided by Mitsotakis and the support by the International Monetary Fund, which sees the magnitude and the duration of the surplus as impediments to growth. Prospective renegotiation with the creditors is not helped by the €1.6bn handout offered to key constituencies by the departing Tsipras. A delegation of the international creditors will visit Athens soon in order to monitor the progress of achieving said surplus.
Mitsotakis has a long and challenging road ahead. He has the opportunity of a lifetime to prove to the next generations of Greeks and our contemporary fellow Europeans that there is a successful way out of even a 10-year status quo of recession. His legacy may be not only the salvation of an old and proud nation, but a nail in the coffin of the detrimental populism ailing both sides of the Atlantic.