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Hellenic Republic Ministry of National Defence

Alternate Minister Panagiotis Rigas’ Interview on the 1st programme of “Ert” Radio Station and to the Journalist Thanos Siafakas

The Alternate Minister of National Defence, Panagiotis Rigas, in an interview he gave on the 1st Programme of "ERT" radio station today, Tuesday October 2nd 2018, and to the journalist Thanos Siafakas, stated amongst other things the following:

Regarding the exit from the memoranda:

Our country’s exit from the memoranda and supervision is a success not only for the Government, but also for the Greek people. We believe that tomorrow could be and is a better day.

Regarding the Prespa agreement and the referendum:

The way to a solution remains open. On the other side, there is a government that takes seriously the necessity to address the problem. It is difficult to understand why the agreement is considered harmful from both sides and both sides are celebrating.

Regarding the stance of the President of Independent Hellenes (ANEL), P. Kammenos:

Mr. Kammenos has a definite attitude that is respected, despite our disagreement. It is a different approach. Apart from that, we have already said – and we have put it into practice – that by having different approaches to many issues, we managed to have a stable Government that was defined by a major common objective. The major national issue was and still is the uplift of the Greek people and the recovery of the Greek economy. Apart from that, everything will come in its own time. In Greek parliament, Greek members of the parliament are the ones who are going to form the very large majority with their own conscience.

Regarding the agreement and the prospects of the Balkans:

I am absolutely confident that this agreement will be achieved and will be ratified by the Parliament. The referendum was not a prerequisite for the agreement. FYROM, as an independent state, has its own procedures; its democratically elected government will bring forward the constitutional review and I personally believe that such an effort will bring results. We support Mr. Zaev’s initiative, aiming at safeguarding the dynamics contained in the Prespa agreement. Everyone understands that this agreement not only solves the problem that existed, but also creates in general other conditions and another environment in the Balkans.

We are hoping that there will be independent and guardianless countries on our northern borders, which will contribute to peace, stability and the economic growth in the region. FYROM has a dynamics that is also indicated by the number of “yes” votes, which supports such an effort in our region.

Regarding New Democracy party:

New Democracy party and VMRO are bound to and prisoners of a far-right nationalistic logic. In fear of the political cost, they do not wish to assume the responsibility for a fair and sustainable solution. Besides, New Democracy party must respond to all the publications about Ms. Spyraki’s meetings. Let’s hear if it is true and what exactly have they discussed about. This issue contains the element of secret diplomacy. On our part, everything is out in the open regarding the agreement.

Regarding the possibility of a motion of censure:

We are fed up with an allegedly potential Prime Minister to call for elections as of the first day, to propose motions of censure and all this to be drawn back so far. The country moves forward; their strategy is comical from a political point of view. However, it gets dangerous for the Greek society. People in glass houses shouldn’t’ throw stones. Those who were victimizers once, now want victims to do more.

Regarding the issue of pensions:

Our stance and our opinion are reflected in the budget; it is not a question of negotiation. Pension cuts are a budgetary measure, rather than a structural measure. The Greek government has all the right arguments to prove that such pension cuts are no longer necessary.

Regarding the 4.5% surplus:

There are of course goals. Apart from that, the surplus has to do with good management as well. We return this surplus to the Greek people, taking advantage of the budgetary space. At the same time, step by step, we have focused our energies on trying to get the country working in terms of actual development, rather than looting and fake numbers. We must therefore consider where we started from and where we are today. Within the framework of a very difficult, almost extortionist agreement, we managed to conduct 18 interventions for the benefit of the Greek society. Our perception is quite different from that of New Democracy and its commitment to extreme neoliberalism, as well as to right and far-right ideas.