du Premier ministre M. Alexis Tsipras à l'OCDE - 12 mars 2015
Secretary General of the OECD,
am glad and honored to be here and speak before an audience of this
am here, among you, not only as Prime Minister of Greece but as a
European political leader who is fighting so that political change in
gives a new impetus to
is not sui generis but
symptomatic of a wider euromalaise.
has become almost commonplace among economists, intellectuals and
international organizations, such as the OECD and the IMF, to argue that
desperately needs to escape the trap of austerity in order to usher in a
new era of growth and prosperity.
electoral victory of SYRIZA on January 25th has given new
hope to millions of people suffering from austerity in
therefore provides a fine opportunity to provide the necessary momentum
for movement in the required direction.
direction of common sense and pragmatic politics that would have a
realistic assessment of both constraints and potential that would give
precedence to the needs of the people over ideology.
need a decisive shift in favour of collective interests and popular
is the only way to regain the heart of Europeans and restore the
prestige of the European project.
need to respect democracy and the expression of the free will of the
peoples, if we are not to surrender
to the extreme nationalist and populist right.
, the era of austerity, the Memoranda and the troika is over. And this
is definitive and irreversible. Those who act as if the Greek people
never voted or as if their vote is irrelevant, actually render
irrelevant in the eyes of its citizens.
feel that political change in
is very much compatible with crafting a new qualitative relationship
with our European partners based on sincerity, realism and mutual
can no longer pretend that there is no humanitarian crisis in
as a consequence of the recessionary policies of internal devaluation.
can no longer pretend that the country’s public debt is viable and
serviceable, when it stands at around 178% with interest expenditures
amounting to approximately €6,5 billion annually until 2021, after
which they increase to €11 billion, and in 2022 to €24,5 billion.
we can no longer carry on with unrealistic and recessionary primary
fiscal surpluses of the order of 3,0% in 2015 and 4,5% thereafter, just
to pretend that the Greek public debt is viable.
After five years of economic decline and social
hardship, our country remains in a desperate economic state. Our
problems range over many aspects of economic activity, from financial
precariousness to mass unemployment and poverty.
The task of our
government is far from being easy. It requires substantial reforms to
deal with historically rooted injustices and the inefficiencies of our
This, in turn, requires two things: First, the
political will to go against all those vested interests that benefit at
the expense of the majority of citizens.
Our government has this will.
Second, we need the technical expertise to identify the most relevant
institutional structures which block change and reform them in a
consistent way. The assistance of OECD on this matter is valuable.
want a new relationship with the OECD away from the toolkits of the past,
which were never embraced by the people as their own set of reforms.
will be framed by our government’s program of progressive and social
reforms, on a case-by-case basis and on the technical details that
surround their implementation.
is absolutely vital for
to have its public debt restructured. That would make the country
solvent, lowering dramatically the yields on the ten-year government
bonds and making it possible for us, once, again, to meet our financing
needs in the capital markets.
our view, the monetary union as a whole loses out from the failure to
’s public debt problem.
vicious cycle of a debt trap and permanent dependence are hardly a
recipe for a healthy Eurozone as a whole.
have to replace political myopia with inspiration and boldness.
needs fiscal space
to regain the capacity to plan and organize its economy. To this end,
with the letter of the Minister of Finance to the President of the
Eurogroup on February 18th,
asked for an extension of the loan agreement, as an interim stage to a
new Contract for Recovery and Growth.
this will be backed with a negotiated agreement with our partners on the
issue of the viability and serviceability of public debt. But even if we
were somehow able to remove the entire public debt, it would grow again
soon, if we didn’t eradicate its underlying causes.
is why we need reforms. And this is why we need fiscal space: to be able
to tackle the basic problems of the real economy, of the relationship of
the state with the economy and of the state with the society.
put it differently, we need to put flesh on the bone of that Contract
for Recovery and Growth so that we can ensure that, if we achieve debt
sustainability and an appropriate fiscal space, we will have a model
that is economically sustainable and sensitive to democratic, social and
this critical juncture,
should carry out social reforms that will, on the one hand, take into
account of the emergency conditions of the economy and, on the other,
will break with past practices. We cannot merely draft reform strategies
onto existing clientelistic practices. We need new arrangements.
for us, change is the normal state of affairs.
reform strategy involves interventions aimed at, on the one hand, ending
stagnation and moving away from the low equilibrium of the economy and,
on the other, influencing the qualitative characteristics of the new
has to be radical – not marginal because our economy is still in a
state of disarray with the collapse of its productive possibilities. We
need a shock to revive the economy. And, once the growth dynamic is
kick-started, substantial unused capacity suggests that it could be
maintained for a prolonged period.
parallel, public debt, if restructured, could be placed on a firm
downward trajectory, even with a rather modest recovery in nominal
new government is well aware of the deficiencies of the pre-crisis
growth model that we had always been critical of, while in opposition.
Over the last decades, our political will has been consistent to change
. That explains why our vision is not to return to the past.
are fighting to change the present, while keeping our eyes firmly turned
towards a future with economically and ecologically viable growth, with
social justice, and full-employment.
are a government of the Left with new ideas. We want technical
assistance to implement them. For example, our position is that
inequality is a barrier both to growth and to economic efficiency.
we are happy to note that we are in wide agreement with the frontier
research of international organizations such as the OECD and the IMF on
this perspective, during crisis periods, a policy that prioritizes the
needs of the social majority can be part of the solution and not part of
the problem of the crisis. In that sense we will either have inclusive
development or no development at all.
is a point of convergence between our political priority and that of the
OECD. We want growth to go
along with social justice.
similar case can be made with respect to the relationship between growth
with democracy and popular participation. We advocate wider
participation and democratization of economic decision-making at all
do not want to replace the market as an allocative device. We view it as
one of a variety of social mechanisms that can be used to address
economic problems. If it works, that’s fine.
the truth is that it doesn’t function properly all the time and
sometimes it leads to significant social cost.
such a context, we want society to participate in the discussion of
goals and the design and implementation of policy so that the goals
pursued and the policies implemented genuinely reflect the public
interest and ensure that all essential needs are addressed.
similar reasons, we do not consider either the popular aspiration for
sense of belonging or the desire of people to have some form of control
on the issues that affect their lives as elements of populism.
great advantage of incorporating social justice and democracy into a
reform project from the beginning is that one maximizes the popular
support for the whole reform package. It is good to know that there is
an increasing understanding of this point.
in the European Union, people are coming around to the opinion that
popular support is an integral part of the reform drive.
the new Greek government will proceed with a two-pronged reform strategy:
a first set of indispensable, sine
qua non reforms, with immediate application until April. Those
reforms will set the framework for an even more ambitious set of reforms
over the medium- and the longer term.
you know, the immediate priorities of our reform drive, lie in
addressing the humanitarian crisis and the desperate need to confront
’s chronic problem with respect to tax evasion and corruption.
the first, no Left government could begin anywhere else than addressing
access, for instance, to food, shelter and energy.
respect to the second, among other things, we will target fuel and
tobacco smuggling, tighten the legislation concerning the funding of
political parties, strengthen the independence of the General
Secretariat of Public Revenues, while guaranteeing full accountability
and transparency of its operations and broaden the definition of tax
fraud and tax evasion while disbanding tax immunity
reform of the public sector is a more difficult enterprise. We have
already begun by streamlining the government itself. For example we have
already reduced the number of Ministries.
will go on to promote mechanisms for better appointments, evaluations
and the establishment of fair processes for maximizing mobility of human
and other resources within the public sector.
will continue to work towards drastically improving the efficiency of
central and local government departments by targeting budgetary
processes, management restructuring, and reallocation of poorly deployed
to a more economic agenda, we seek to attract investments in key sectors
and utilize the state’s assets more efficiently on a case by case
basis and respecting the public interest.
example, we need to unify the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (ΤΑΙΠΕΔ)
with various public asset management agencies (which are currently
scattered across the public sector) with a view to developing state
assets and enhancing their value through microeconomic and property
is beyond our scope here to give details about our ideas concerning
product and labour markets, the social security system and the crucial
reforms in the judicial system. Needless to say these are all areas
where you will find a great deal of common ground, but also differences
that need to be discussed.
The above areas have of course been addressed by both past governments and
international institutions, such as the OECD. As a progressive
government, which has often been critical concerning certain social and
economic trends, it is not surprising that we seek to broaden the agenda
in certain areas. Let me just mention four.
In line with the priorities announced by the new EU Commissioner for the
environment, we would like
to be a leader in green transformation strategies. Some of the major
shift will be through the introduction of distributed systems (in energy
or waste for instance), but this can be extended to other areas such as
construction or industrial design.
Social Economy has grown during the crisis and it has far more potential
in the years to come. We need to see the promotion of an institutional
framework which identifies bottlenecks to its future growth, provides
supporting institutions that can overcome those bottlenecks, while
encouraging synergies with other sectors of the economy.
Information Technology has now made possible
new opportunities for networked systems and moves towards a commons
based production. Its application, as is clear from European experience,
is wide: from social care to banking, and from food to education. Such
an approach is particularly relevant in
, not only because of the weakness of current institutions, but because
of a large pool of skilled persons, now either unemployed or abroad, and
many remote island or mountainous areas.
The creation of production ecosystems can
provide important motives for businesses to anchor themselves in
, instead of fleeing abroad. An ecosystem can involve bringing together
infrastructure, specialized labour, synergies with public universities
and research centers in a way that maximizes benefits of investing in
Secretary General of the OECD,
What all the above suggests is the need to
marry the old and the new.
The core of our policies is not to reform
; it is to transform
We seek the coexistence with balanced growth of
all three sectors of the economy. In that context, as I mentioned
earlier in passing, environmental
imperatives affect every branch of our economy.
hope that the message that
has entered a new historic era has become clear. In this context, our
collaboration with the OECD is an important step along this path.
road ahead will be full of challenges but, with the help of our partners,
will regain its poise, exit from the crisis and begin the process of