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Hellenic Republic Ministry of National Defence

Interview of the Alternate Minister of National Defence Panagiotis Rigas to the ALPHA 989 Radio Station and the Journalist Nikos Manesis

The Alternate Minister of National Defence Panagiotis Rigas, in an interview he gave on Friday 14 September 2018 to the ALPHA 989 radio station and the journalist Nikos Manesis, mentioned among other things:

Pertaining to the Turkish provocations:

We have a steady policy which I will defend to the best of my abilities. The aim of this government is to implement a multidimensional and active foreign policy and at the same time to promote Greece as a pillar of stability in the region. We have managed to do this in the best possible way and I hope that I will be able to meet the requirements of this obligation.

Pertaining to the provocations of the neighbouring country, let us not overreact. This is a consolidated policy followed by Turkey. Its actions do not facilitate the peaceful coexistence in the region and it has a great financial impact to both countries, while it also involves the danger of accidents.

Regarding relations with the USA:

There is currently cooperation at a financial level but also at the level of Armed Forces. This cooperation is materialised in terms of our country’s independence and on the base of the obligations we have towards the Greek people, but also the obligations arising from our NATO membership. This membership stipulates that we maintain a presence for exclusively peaceful purposes, without participating in any other action. This has been made clear for many years.

With regards to the US side’s interest on the shipyards:

The Thessaloniki International Trade Fair paved the way for talks of potential entrepreneurial activities. The permanent view of the government is that any agreements arising will be entered based on the defence of public interests and mainly of our country’s economy.

Pertaining to the future of pensions and the reason for the legislation which was passed two years ago for pension cuts:

I would like to remind you the battle we gave at the time. It was a negotiation characterised by the fact that the IMF could not accept our own predictions about the country’s economy. Unfortunately for them and fortunately for the Greek approach, it was proven that we were right. The surplus of 3,5% is included in the agreed terms and we must achieve that to meet our obligations towards the creditors. The difference is that after the end of the memoranda and the supervision, the selection of the means for the achievement of goals belongs to the Hellenic Government. Since we are achieving these goals – as all the data indicate – I think that this measure will be avoided, being unnecessary, against development and non structural.

When asked about the fact that SYRIZA was calling for elections in 2014 and now that the New Democracy party does the same, SYRIZA denounces it:

It is not the same. At the time the whole situation was nationally detrimental, since the governments of the time had led the country to bankruptcy. When we took office in January 2015 we encountered deficit in the funds. Today the conditions are different and apparently so are the reasons. What the New Democracy party has been doing lately is nationally detrimental and dangerous as well as extremely politicking. People who do not belong in our field, people active in the field of market, like the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry, have acknowledged the success of the end of the memoranda and have supported in public that no snap election is necessary. The people of the market are aware of the situation without being members of the SYRIZA party.

When the journalist stressed the fact that the measures announced by the Prime Minister for the Greek economy are meant for the next four years and consequently the next government, whichever that may be, he answered:

All of the measures concern the citizen’s everyday life and his/her capability to earn from the benefits of development, after all the tribulations of the previous years. We are presenting to the Greek people a long-lasting cohesive and cost estimated plan, whether it be for four years or ten years. It is essential to know what will happen and in what way. We are planning the change of the productive and social model of the country, so that the country will confirm its position in Europe and the world map.

Pertaining to the model proposed by the New Democracy party for social security:

No comment can be made on the fact that the New Democracy party promotes the funded pension scheme, belauding its implementation in Chile by the dictator Pinochet. It is indicative of the nature of their views. The funded pension scheme functions within the rationale that the social security contributions are paid individually, invested in real-time and the insured individual is refunded when he/she gets his/her pension. On the contrary, that which is truly beneficial for society, the system in force throughout the states implementing a policy beneficial to society, is the Pay-As-You-Go pension scheme, meaning the social security contributions of today’s insured individuals utilised in the payment of today’s pensions. If the proposal of the New Democracy party is implemented, then a huge gap of approximately 1,5 million people will be created. What is New Democracy’s provision for them? Should we throw them in the Caeadas? It is a view truly in line with the Pinochet regime.