The ending of EU surveillance of Greek government spending after 12 years marks “an historic day,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Saturday.
“August 20, 2022, is a historic day for Greece and for all Greeks: Our country is exiting the EU’s enhanced surveillance framework,” he said, in a video address.
The country could now look forward to a new, clean horizon … one of development, unity and prosperity for all.”
“A 12-year cycle that brought pain to citizens closes. It brought stagnation to the economy and division in society,” he added, saying that the memorandums had imposed “unbearable taxes and cuts in wages and pensions, bank controls and mortgaging of public assets, the downgrading of national defense, public education and health, as well as the marginalization of Greece’s position in Europe and the world.”
He said a number of “wounds” that had opened up in society during the 12 years of surveillance now belonged to the past, identifying these as “fanaticism, fires, violence”, the “blind undermining of institutions,” “lies that sprung up across town squares” and “the poison of Golden Dawn.”
In a swipe at main opposition SYRIZA, which was in power from 2015 to 2019, he said: “Four years of demagogy followed, which cost our nation €100 billion and pushed the country to the precipice.”
Referring to his own period in power, he said: “These last three years constitute, in practice, a response to the lessons of the last 12 years. They show the way so that we never, ever, go back to what we have lived through.”
The European Commission, which supervises the budgets of the 27 EU member countries, said on Wednesday it would end its “enhanced surveillance” program on August 20, noting that “Greece has delivered on the bulk of the policy commitments” made to its eurozone partners.