ND chief aims to change EU minds about Greece

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Greek op­po­si­tion leader Kyr­i­akos Mit­so­takis will be meet­ing with Euro­pean of­fi­cials to­day and to­mor­row with the aim of chang­ing the stereo­typ­i­cal idea that Greece is an un­re­formable coun­try and, at the same time, out­lin­ing his con­ser­va­tive party’s blue­print for re­build­ing the cri­sis-wracked econ­omy.

The chief of New Democ­racy, which has a dou­ble-digit lead over Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras’s SYRIZA in the polls, will to­day start a two-day visit to Stras­bourg, set to co­in­cide with the ple­nary ses­sion of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment. To­mor­row, Mit­so­takis will ad­dress MEPs of the Euro­pean Peo­ple’s Party (EPP), be­fore meet­ing with sev­eral se­nior EU of­fi­cials.

Mit­so­takis will also have a work­ing din­ner with Euro­pean Par­lia­ment Pres­i­dent An­to­nio Ta­jani. An­a­lysts pre­dict that Ta­jani, an im­por­tant fig­ure of Italy’s cen­ter-right, could play a key role in the Mediter­ranean coun­try’s pol­i­tics should Sil­vio Ber­lus­coni win elec­tions in 2018.

The Greek op­po­si­tion leader is also sched­uled to meet with Man­fred We- ber, chair­man of the EPP Group in the EU assem­bly, and other lead­ing EPP of­fi­cials. Fi­nally, Mit­so­takis is sched­uled to hold talks with Guy Ver­hof­s­tadt, who leads the par­lia­men­tary group of lib­eral par­ties (ALDE) in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment.

Mit­so­takis’s Euro­pean over­ture comes in the wake of an in­ter­view with po­lit­i­cal news web­site Politico last week in which he re­vealed the brush­strokes of his post-bailout po­lit­i­cal credo.

Speak­ing to Ryan Heath, Mit­so­takis said he wouldn’t hes­i­tate to make rad­i­cal changes if he were to be­come pre­mier.

“There’s an is­sue of se­ri­ous­ness com­pe­tence, pro­fes­sion­al­ism in gover­nance and gov­ern­ment,” he said, adding that he wanted “a smaller and more ef­fi­cient” ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“I want to stream­line pub­lic spend­ing. I want to cut taxes. I want to make Greece an at­trac­tive in­vest­ment des­ti­na­tion,” he said.

“We paid a very heavy bill for ex­per­i­ment­ing with Mr Tsipras,” he said.

ND chief Kyr­i­akos Mit­so­takis ad­dresses a party gath­er­ing in Ioan­nina, north­west­ern Greece, ear­lier this month. He starts a two-day visit to Stras­bourg to­day, where he will be at­tempt­ing to re­verse Greece’s im­age as an un­re­formable coun­try.

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