The Man at the Helm: Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras: Alexis Tsipras Gives His View on Investment Opportunities in Greece and His Broad Take on EU, as Well as Mediterranean, Relations

Foreign Policy, July-August 2017 | Go to article overview

The Man at the Helm: Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras: Alexis Tsipras Gives His View on Investment Opportunities in Greece and His Broad Take on EU, as Well as Mediterranean, Relations


FP Is this the year of the 'Hellenic Turnaround'?

AT Yes--we are completely focused on making this happen. Last year, our economy performed above all expectations. We had a primary surplus of over 4%--8 times higher than the projected target of 0.5%--and the projections for a 0.4% recession were proven wrong because we managed to end the year with a positive growth rate. Furthermore, the first results of 2017--with a 0.4% growth rate for the first quarter of the year --are showing that the Greek economy is already on the path of growth. And now we are in the process of regaining trust --of our partners, creditors, markets and investors.

Our results are, first and foremost, due to the sacrifices and hard work of the Greek people. They need to see the effects of our recovering economy, in their lives, their jobs, their healthcare, their income, for example--not only in figures. That is why our main focus is now on the growth agenda. My main objective is to be the prime minister during whose term Greece returns to normality and stability, with substantially decreased unemployment.

FP How will you achieve Greece's 2018 GDP growth target?

AT During my time in office, we have never failed on our targets. On the contrary, we are consistently overachieving, and I think this will continue for 2017 and 2018 as well.

Our first priority is to attract direct foreign investments. After the completion of the second review and the agreement on the measures that will make our debt sustainable, we are now on a clear path to put an end to a tremendous crisis and achieve growth and prosperity. The idea of "Grexit" is now put to rest once and for all, which for me was and always will be a no-go scenario.

So, we are now in a position to support our production, to attract investments, to encourage new forms of cooperation, to revitalize our industries, to boost our exports, and, all in all, create new jobs and significantly reduce unemployment at the height of the EU average [...]. One of our main goals and--I am deeply convinced that we can achieve this--is that Greece can become a global hub for energy, transportation, new technologies and innovation and, of course, tourism.

FP What is the way forward for Europe?

AT We have to learn a lesson from the founding principles of European unification and, specifically, the need to focus towards human needs, solidarity, growth, education, employment and social justice.

I believe that the time is right to make some crucial decisions. I am aware that there are members of our European family that do not share this view and, to be precise, the prospect of European unity and further integration. Nevertheless, we have to act decisively and collectively. Meaning that if the majority believes in the principles of solidarity, democracy, freedom and social cohesion, we have to keep going. …

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