Creating new wealth and ensuring a fairer distribution of revenues through innovation, research and competitiveness were the goals set by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during his keynote address on Saturday at the 81st Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF).
Tsipras pledged to work towards lower primary budget-surplus targets after the current bailout program expires in 2018, which he said will lead to lower taxes.
“When the next two years come to an end we will have exited the program as we will have managed to achieve stable and sustainable growth. Our goal is to de-escalate the primary surplus to 2.5 percent in 2019 and 2 percent in 2020,” he said.
The Greek premier also underlined the significance of tourism and called on foreign investors to have faith in the Greek economy, adding that changes to the current tax framework will prove to be beneficial.
He further added that the government aims to tap into all EU funding possibilities in order to tackle unemployment and provide incentives for growth as well channel incoming revenues to the ailing health system and to education, particularly in view of an increase in students due to the migrant influx.
Tsipras also mentioned the “Returning to Greece” program which aims to offer incentives to Greek scientists and academics who have moved abroad due to the crisis depriving the country of much-needed manpower.
“Greece will only change if we change our way of thinking and our strategy; if we stop focusing only on public finances and instead change the country’s productive model,” Tsipras said.
In the meantime, earlier on Saturday in Thessaloniki, some 13,000 protesters staged anti-government rallies against the country’s austerity program while journalists were on strike.