February 6, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Press conference about nothing

The press conference of Mitsotakis did not contain news, did not provide solutions to deadlocks and was just for show…, considers Vassilis Kanellis, a columnist for the Greek edition of in.gr.

I do not know if the adviser or speakers who recommended the Prime Minister to thematic press conferences like the one he gave on Monday on economics, but if I were Mr. Mitsotakis, I would be dissatisfied with myself, with my answers, with a confrontational attitude and in general an interview that did not make sense to conduct, since it was about nothing.

We understand that his advisers see Mr. Mitsotakis as a strong New Democracy card in the upcoming elections, and they want to bring him more and more to the fore. If the polls are to be believed (if!) that the prime minister is still popular and has a good rating, then they are right to show him. But not in interviews that have no real focus, but on the road, on tours, in contact with people.

What happened at this press conference? Absolutely nothing. Other than worrying about whether the prime minister will dissolve the government and go to the polls or announce a date for a vote… nothing else.

The whole point of the last press conference was to try to draw an unfair, in my opinion, comparison between the “Syriza” government and the current government. Recognize that the government of SYRIZA – ANEL, to put it mildly, messed up … with tragic choices and decisions. But this is already in the past, and it happened at a time that was especially turbulent and dangerous for the survival of the country. What’s the point of making comparisons that just serve the communication game and nothing else?

Rising prices are the government’s number one concern, as Mr. Mitsotakis himself acknowledged. But have you heard him give guidance on how households groaning at prices on supermarket shelves will survive? Will vouchers be used to continue economic policies that have failed when it comes to essentials? And how long will we keep handing out vouchers to plug holes that are getting bigger and bigger?

With internal markups that are, in fact, indecent, will we do something? When apples leave the farmers for 0.25 euros per kilogram, but end up on the shelf for 1.60 and 1.80 euros, is that normal? Are checks carried out, are there groups of specialists who deal with this? Are there hard penalties? The answer is rhetorical…

And is the government making agreements with domestic industry, or is it just waiting for developments at the international level in case prices fall? Inflation is declining, Mitsotakis said? So what? With the consumer price index more pegged to fuels and energy, where we’re really slowing down, is the real market picture emerging? Because you can’t have inflation below 8% and celebrate, but the food price index has jumped 50% a long time ago and another price increase is expected soon.

The prime minister did not respond to a question about his plan for dealing with the ongoing deficit that is afflicting households. The government is talking about generous pension increases that are coming for private workers, and from 2024 for the public sector. But what can be done about a €50-€80 increase for most workers and retirees when price increases force them to spend €100 and €150 more each month?

You can be sure that their decision will be reflected in the ballot box. And this decision, most likely, will not be in favor of the New Democracy of Mitsotakis.

And we turn to the investment issue. Mitsotakis more or less openly said that if there is no stability (which is associated with New Democracy), then the investment issue will not be visible even through binoculars. It seems to me that this smacks a little of blackmail and brings only harm to the receptionist. After all, if we assume that it is not the ND that rules, but some other side or sides … Won’t the markets give a much-needed update for this reason? But then the rhetoric of the current government that it has built a strong economy is reduced to nothing. Either the economy is strong and will receive a high investment grade rating under this or that government, or it is weak, and all this talk is not worth a damn.

In a nutshell. When you do not report anything new, when you do not reassure the population about the problems they are facing, if you show anger and attacks on competitors for no reason, then it is better not to hold a press conference.

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