Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras took to the airwaves on Monday morning to maintain that the country has “turned a page” in its bid for economic recovery, with his address before the Cabinet carried live by the state-run broadcaster.
His remarks, nevertheless, coincided with an abrupt announcement by the independent statistical service (EL.STAT), which revised Q4 GDP figures downwards, a development that sent shock waves through the government.
EL.STAT said a recession was recorded in the fourth quarter of 2016 to tune of 1.1 percent in lost GDP, compared to the same quarter of 2015.
Initially, EL.STAT, Eurostat, institutional creditors and, above all, the leftist government foresaw a marginal 0.3-percent increase in Greece’s Q4 GDP, something that would have marked a return to growth.
“Greece has turned the page, whether some like this or not; the economy held firm, it rebounded,” Tsipras told Cabinet members during a ministerial meeting to present a long-delayed report on the restructuring of Greece’s productive model – which itself was a memorandum-mandated obligation.
Amid renewed negotiations with creditors’ representatives in Athens this week, Tsipras also referred to “obstacles and the usual difficulties that our friends place each time … as much as they want to delay the negotiations at the staff level, the river will not turn back; Greece has turned a page,” the Greek premier said, without going into further details.
In combining both criticism of the main opposition party, which is leading comfortably in opinion polls, and in pointing to his coalition government’s political “compass”, he said:
“… for instance, liberalization (of the regime) for mass layoffs is a counter-reform… such measures comprise the agenda of ND (the opposition) and Mr. Mitsotakis (the ND leader)…their agenda holds that society will prosper if the rich become richer on the backs of the poor… For us, social prosperity is the fair redistribution of wealth; the right of all for respectable and stable work, for a viable social state,” he said.