Intervention of SEV Chairman, Mr. Dimitris Daskalopoulos
in press conference
November 16, 2010, SEV Premises
On the next day of elections, our country is to face its real problems and the need to get back to work to solve them. The message sent by citizens to all of us is the requirement for more responsibility, substance and seriousness.
The MoU is not just about salary and pension cuts and tax increases. Those were the urgent and inevitable measures to address the size of the crisis at its outset. The real essence of the Memorandum of Understanding is in the structural reforms, those reforms that we ought to have implemented for years and which our political system did not dare to. If we had made these necessary changes before 15 or even 5 years ago, we would not today be facing bankruptcy.
Today, these changes are the only solution to the crisis; they offer the only optimistic vision for our future. Fiscal consolidation alone is not enough. Unfortunately, developments in 2010 indicate that the tax-paying ability of citizens and the capacity of tax authorities to contain tax evasion were overestimated by both the government and by our lenders. Simultaneously, the government is slow in effectively promoting the substantive reforms, especially those that require a confrontation with the party dominated State system and the vested interests that feed on it. The result is a deepening recession and the danger to be trapped in a vicious circle that makes it impossible to reduce debt that keeps the capital markets closed, and makes bankruptcy inevitable.
The biggest, the most critical and urgent structural change that we should tackle is the dismantling of the hypertrophic state. It is a state that extracts valuable resources from society while simultaneously drawing the private sector into its own bankruptcy.
In this context, SEV has prepared a memorandum, which we will deliver tomorrow to the Government, to Commissioner Olli Rhen and to the Troika.
Our basic position is to redress the priorities of the Memorandum in order to transform it into a Growth and Development Memorandum for the country. The proposals can be summarized in three points:
This is the only realistic path available. Our citizens can no longer be presented with false hopes, false promises and false dilemmas. For this reason, SEV has stated that the Memorandum should not divide us, but unite us in a collective effort to overcome the circumstances that made it necessary. If the memorandum becomes an arena of social division, then the change in the country will inevitably become impossible and national bankruptcy will inevitably follow. In this case the consequences will be borne by the entire political system. The real victim, however, will be our people.