Representatives of SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance’s members,
I welcome you all to our 3rd Congress, both a turning point and a continuation for our Party.
I welcome you to a fest of participation, political dialogue, and democracy.
I welcome your participation, but even more I welcome your determination to turn this Congress into a great leap for political change.
Into the beginning of the countdown to the progressive government that this country needs.
It is this will you are conveying here today.
The collective will of the tens of thousands of SYRIZA-PA members that you represent to spread the Party everywhere where the resistance to the polices of catastrophe breathes.
And to give the message of victory.
To turn rage into a mighty river of change.
To turn despair into hope.
And together raise the sun again over Greece.
This is the great historical responsibility that we all in this arena feel on our shoulders.
The responsibility to the social majority that once more is being plundered.
The responsibility to the working class, on whose sacrifices this country was built.
Our responsibility to the middle class, which was shamelessly deceived by Mr. Mitsotakis’ Right in the last election.
Our responsibility mainly to the young, to the next generations that will be called upon to carry the future of this country on their shoulders.
And when we are faced with this responsibility, there is but one choice.
To make it.
And I assure you that we’ll make it.
It is guaranteed by our history.
It is guaranteed by the course of the Left over harsh decades.
By the sacrifices for the benefit of the people of this country.
By the remembrance of those who gave even their lives for the freedom of this land, for democracy and for socialism.
It is also guaranteed by our own course both in opposition and in government, the government that delivered Greece from the shackles of bankruptcy and the lenders.
It is finally guaranteed by your faces, all these faces we meet everywhere in Greece that “don’t take well to a narrower sky”.
Comrades, participants in our 3rd Congress, we get together today in a historic Congress, which is both a turning point and a continuation, as we decided quite some time ago.
The pandemic delayed our get-together.
And perhaps our Congress is eventually taking place in a world completely different from the one we were in when we announced it.
The constantly escalating climate crisis, the pandemic, the war, the energy crisis shape an environment of successive crises and unprecedent challenges.
But in these dystopian times, the responsibilities of the forces of progress that defend the vision of a society of freedom and equality are also rising.
We are not alone in this fight.
Our Congress is an integral part of a great and dynamic process that is taking place on the whole planet.
From the US to Portugal and from Greece to France, day after day the debate on the responsibility of the Left and the Progressive forces to become part of the solution is growing.
Because the world is getting harsher and harsher.
Inequality is deepening, global threats are emerging again with the successive crises.
So much so that today an old dilemma for the entire humankind is becoming more relevant than ever.
“Socialism or barbarism?”
And if the answer given by the global developments, the climate destruction, the escalation of poverty and marginalization, the death sentence to millions of people from a virus, as well as the war that brings the nuclear threat back to the fore,
If the answer is barbarism,
Then we are here, alongside billions of other people on the planet, to say NO.
The answer to the future of our world is not barbarism.
The answer is justice.
The answer is equality.
The answer is peace.
The answer is environmental protection.
The answer is people over profits.
This is the great global ideological message that our Party, SYRIZA-PA, voices in our country.
In the country of great traditions and great struggles for democracy, freedom, and justice.
That is why we need to bear in mind on every step we take that we are not “a child of chance”, but “a child of need”.
That we come from far, far back and we aim to go a very long way.
And all these years of hardship and violent riping, we have learned to dare to change.
We have learned to be a party in constant mobility.
That was not obsoleted by history but opened the path to history.
That did not compromise with the management of power but dared to assume political costs.
Because we did not shrink from entering the flaming battle for the defense of the social majority.
Even when that meant burning for the defense of our values.
With always one certainty in mind:
This world must change.
Greece can change.
This certainty has always been the guide in our every decision.
Big or small.
The certainty that austerity and authoritarianism are not a one-way street.
The certainty that it is the citizens who are the owners of this country and not the oligarchs and their political mouthpieces, the ones born in the purple of power.
This, comrades, was and is the certainty of a party that identifies itself with the ones it represents in the great political arena.
Not a party of spouses of power, but a party of lovers of justice.
And this certainty has both feet on the ground.
Just remember, how many have taken it for granted since 2011 that we are a flash in the pan that will soon go back down to 3%?
How many have taken it for granted since 2015 that we will never exit the country from the memoranda, that we will crash and come apart?
But not only did SYRIZA not abandon the battle, not only did it not shrink, but came out a winner and grew.
After 2018, we got together with thousands of new fellow travelers, democratic and progressive citizens.
Citizens that first met SYRIZA in the 2012 elections.
Others who were with us, we then went our separate ways, and now we have met again.
Thousands of fellow fighters from all around Greece that are here today.
They are at home; they are in their party.
In SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance.
In our common home.
Alongside many thousands of democratic citizens that have joined a party for the first time.
And they are all here.
They have joined us with passion, honesty, and unselfishness to change the country.
They are with us in the hard but beautiful struggle for social justice and progress.
To this struggle we welcome you all.
We welcome you to your home.
We will walk united, to struggle every day in neighborhoods, workplaces, universities, squares, and streets.
Showing in practice that the Greek democratic bloc of the 21st century is not the repetition of a yesterday declaration, but the driving force of progress today and the hope for social and political change for the future.
Eric Hobsbawm, the great British Marxist historian, spoke of the short 20th century.
It is safe, I think, to take his claim one step forward, as he himself envisioned it.
The 21st century moves at a relentless speed.
At the dawn of its 3rd decade, historical time seems to thicken at an unprecedented pace.
Many of us belong to a generation that matured exactly on the verge, in a world that was changing after the collapse of the “existing socialism”.
It was the time of the notorious “end of history”.
The promise of a new, supposedly advanced and indestructible version of global capitalism, in which class conflicts would vanish, because everybody would have a satisfactory share of the pie of the global economy.
The strength of that idea was such that it overwhelmed most political forces.
One way or another, it dominated the whole world.
It proved to be a huge lie, though; a huge con.
If we look at the world today, we do not see the end of history but the end of this con.
Late capitalism – incontrollable, with no rival – has abandoned even the last shred of the Enlightenment legacy, has incriminated every flutter of solidarity and equality, has led humanity and history to a new, even fiercer chapter of darkness.
It continually produces and reproduces:
The unbridled power of the markets.
Gigantic social inequalities.
Intolerance and racism.
Gender violence and social marginalization.
The destruction of the social state, public education, and every kind of social protection.
The subjection of democracy to big business, and the regularization of authoritarianism.
This is the notorious doctrine of neoliberalism.
Over the last two years, though, we have been experiencing something even more dangerous than all these:
The absolute contempt for human life in the name of profit.
Millions of people have lost their lives, as the pandemic struck a world that has legitimized the idea that public health is a commodity that can be sold and bought.
A world where the salvation of billions of people depends on the estimation of cost and profit, on the investment plans of ten big pharmaceutical multinationals.
And this is not the end of the threat.
The climate crisis is not a natural phenomenon.
It is the most severe wound that neoliberalism inflicted on the planet’s body.
The impact of the irrational exploitation of its natural resources.
The imprint of the social organization that it imposed to bolster the production of wealth.
It is the serial crime of a multinational caste that has imposed - as supreme principles - unrestrained competition and the inflation of its profits at all costs, utterly indifferent to tomorrow.
And it is exactly the same criminal and shortsighted logic that today brings the global community face to face with an even more horrid nightmare that for years it thought it would never go through again.
The nightmare of the nuclear threat.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has made this danger visible again.
80 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in the country that lived the Chernobyl horror, we are faced with the consequences created by geopolitical rivalry, nationalism, discrediting of international organizations, of diplomacy, and of International Law.
The war in the heart of the European Continent.
The devaluation of human life.
The thousands of dead civilians.
The atrocities and the threat of a full-scale conflict are not fictional scenarios but a painful reality.
A reality we must change.
A tragic development that we must avert.
We all voice our solidarity and support to the suffering people of Ukraine in every possible way.
And our support is not only words but translates into political practice through our support to the Solidarity for All campaign for humanitarian aid, which will soon be sent to refugees and people in the war zone, among whom there are thousands of Mariupol and Odessa citizens of Greek origin.
The largest share of responsibility clearly lies with the invading party.
Putin’s Russia, which has flagrantly violated every notion of International Law and must be pressured by every possible means to stop the invasion.
But responsibility also lies with the US and the EU that expanded NATO without constructing an indivisible security architecture with Russia, as agreed in 1999, violated International Law with their interventions, and did not do everything they could to prevent the war.
As far as the EU, in particular, is concerned, it is obvious that it will suffer severe, or perhaps even incalculable, consequences from this war conflict.
For a long time, we have been warning that the EU – which constitutes our constant and firm orientation – is not doing well.
Its absence in the international political scene is emphatic.
Playing a follow-my-leader role in global developments.
Instead of building an autonomous common foreign and defense policy, the EU did nothing and gradually its position weakened under the pressure of the US policy and NATO’s logic.
And today, despite any positive steps taken to deal with the economic consequences of the pandemic, the EU is faced again with the possibility of a severe social and political crisis.
The cause here too is the neoliberal dominance.
The dominant social and political policies have marginalized the popular classes even in powerful countries such as France.
The successive crises – in the economy, the pandemic, now the war and the energy crisis – lead a large part of the middle class to impoverishment.
We had warned that the democratic foundations of the EU will be tested if its social supports weaken.
That the arrogance of the forces of neoliberal globalization, which a bit prematurely hailed the end of history, the intensifying social inequalities, the large migration flows, and the climate crisis will open two roads:
The one will be dominated by the forces of the Far Right, of nationalism and racism.
The other will be marked by a social and political majority of the Left and the progressive forces.
We saw what happened in Hungary recently.
These days we are waiting in suspense for the second round in France.
We are in front of a historical irony, when the EU is combating authoritarianism at its outer borders, at the same time it is cultivating a breeding ground for internal mimics of the authoritarian road – because of the dead ends it leads its citizens to, among other reasons.
At the same time, we have the positive cases of Portugal and Spain.
We want to multiply such cases. We want them to be the rule rather than the exception in our continent.
The next step will be here in Greece in the next elections.
Where the confrontation, the main dividing line, will be between the neoliberal Right, perhaps the most extreme neoliberal version of the European Right, the Right of Mr. Mitsotakis’ ND and the progressive forces that aim to put an end to the insanity of the abusive functioning of the markets.
This is the main antithesis:
On the one side, the markets and the profits.
On the other, the people and the social needs.
On the one side, the neoliberal obsessions of the so-called “trickle down economics”, which did not work even in regular times.
On the other, the socialist ideas that marked the twentieth century, were abused in practice, were defamed in theory, but today are coming back to the foreground.
The need to regulate the market.
The reinforcement of social protection.
The strengthening of intervention of the state, not as an underling and an arbiter appointed by the elites, but as a guarantor of social cohesion and a regulator of development.
The strengthening of the world of labor, as a major factor in economic and social progress.
A comprehensive counterproposal that focuses on people and their needs.
That reinstates the role of the state and deals with the concept of public goods anew.
These are the ideas and values that lay the foundations of the new world we envision.
But for this world to be born, we first must get rid of the old one.
The world of injustice and exploitation.
The reality, that is, the large majority of the citizens of our country lives in.
Because in Greece over the last years, dear comrades, we have been experiencing the harshest aspects of neoliberal brutality.
It has taken only three years of intensive exploitation, reduction of rights, and deception to turn Greece into a paradise for its oligarchy.
And hell for the social majority, which has plunged into insecurity and an unbearable daily life.
The high cost of living is not the offspring of the war. It came long before but was multiplied by the government policies and has led millions of families, tens of thousands of businesses to a financial dead end.
Meanwhile, almost 30,000 people have lost their lives so far to the pandemic, many of whom unfairly, in a broken-down and neglected health system.
Middle classes and farmers asphyxiate in the grip of price rises and state indifference.
The working classes are paid peanuts to work long hours and with medieval standards.
While young people, when not made to leave the country, have to live in their childhood rooms even in their thirties.
If their parents do not have the financial means, the young are deprived of the right to access the university of their preference and cannot live with the people they love, have a life and roof of their own.
This Greece that has just come out of bankruptcy to meet again with social crisis is Greece with a signature under it:
Mr. Mitsotakis is not a man that brings bad fortune.
He is a man that embraces unfortunate policies.
Policies that cause catastrophe.
Policies that precipitated and multiplied the crises and their impacts on the Greek economy and society.
He is the Prime Minister-contractor who from the very first moment knew exactly what to do and for whom.
He knew who brought him to the limelight, who supported him, on whose behalf and for whom he came to power.
Not even the pandemic changed his strategy. On the contrary.
He turned the pandemic into an opportunity to do even more.
To take advantage of the emergency situation in the Parliament to pass antipopular bills.
To give out 7 billion euros to the whole gang of state-supported loafers of the partisan state, with direct awards of contracts and restricted tenders, with no control whatsoever.
To offer “earth and water” to private health companies, while he allowed them not to deal with the battle against the virus in their clinics.
To leave doctors and nurses unpaid and even persecute them, while they gave a self-sacrificing battle for days and nights on end in hospitals sagging under excessive numbers of patients.
And, of course,
To give out public money to the media so that they praise him to the skies day and night.
So that they turn black into white.
So that they ply us with virtual reality.
So that they obscure and distort the truth of a country that came to suffer the highest number of fatalities per million of population in Europe in the pandemic.
Today, though, when millions of households are overwhelmed by the high cost of living, Mr. Mitsotakis falls victim to his own choices.
The virtual reality that he tried so hard to create for the citizens has finally become his political doom.
And all of a sudden, he is faced with the consequences of his actions.
He is faced with the very real consequences of every strategic choice of his.
To privatize DEI [Public Power Corporation] amid an energy crisis.
To let the private debt swell.
To keep minimum wages frozen.
To hit small and medium-sized entrepreneurship in favor of large corporations.
To privatize supplementary insurance.
To legitimize profiteering, through the absence of the state, fueling the greatest surge of price rises of the last decades.
To blow up the “executive state”, in a country that is paralyzed by floods, snowfalls, or forest fires throughout the year.
For all these, he is now faced with public outrage.
And, as you know, this outrage is not blind.
Greek society has been through a lot and learned in the hardest way.
It is a mature society.
Used to hardship.
And knows very well how to punish politically those who attack it.
Knows how to use its greatest weapon, won through struggle:
And that is what it is going to do again.
It is tragic, perhaps a historical accident, that the country has happened to have the worst government at the worst of times.
And we are all paying a heavy toll for it.
But the time of political change has come.
From every corner of Greece spring the need and the demand to put an end to the government of Mr. Mitsotakis.
Alongside the need and the demand for a new beginning.
And I am certain that our Congress with its political determination, sense of responsibility to the nation, and the social sensitivity of our decisions will give a message to the entire Greek society:
We are ready.
We do not shrink from difficulty.
We want, we know how, and we can.
We have learned from difficulties, as well as from our mistakes.
When we assumed government responsibilities, the truth is we relied more on the strength of our faith in fairness and our moral superiority than on full awareness of the huge difficulties and the challenges we would have to face.
The battle was in any case unequal.
David against the Goliath of the lenders, against vested interests and corruption, against Mr. Mitsotakis’ ND and its willing allies.
Today, however, we know what battles we can win and mostly how.
This is why our proposals form a framework of realistic radicalism.
And we are the only governmental party that, as soon as it went into opposition, made a thorough evaluation of its activities.
The only governmental party that publicly discussed in its organizations the evaluation report on its term of office.
Despite our mistakes – only the ones who do not dare do not make mistakes – during our years in government, we achieved much more than anyone could have imagined, given the circumstances.
Yes, some of the measures we were forced to take under the troika’s threats and blackmails affected social groups disproportionately.
We acknowledge this and we stand with empathy and no conceit in front of those we were forced to be unfair to.
And we are fully aware that there cannot be fair development with disproportionate burden on entrepreneurship and the middle class.
But we had no other choice at that time but to take the yoke off the country’s neck.
That was our priority.
And all our decisions were made with the purpose of serving that national goal.
And each and every one of those decisions had the risk of a political force that does not act with power as an end in itself but with the social and patriotic best interests in mind.
And yes, today I can say it with no arrogance at all.
We are proud of the way we handled our people’s trust.
We are proud we raised minimum wages.
We are proud we reinstated collective bargaining.
We are proud we brought justice to the workplace.
We are proud we effected and strengthened the ESY [National Health System], which was falling apart and excluded our uninsured fellow citizens.
We are proud we reduced unemployment by 10%.
We are proud we supported public schools.
We are proud we increased the expenditure for public universities.
We are proud we brought back the 13th pension.
We are proud we are the first government to leave behind full coffers and not scorched earth and deficits.
We are proud we legislated the ability of migrants’ children born in Greece to acquire citizenship.
We are proud we enacted legal recognition of gender identity and extended civil union to same-sex couples.
We are proud we abolished the obligation of the minority to observe Sharia law.
We are proud we believed in and carried out the historic Prespa agreement no matter what the cost might have been.
That we did not move back despite the pressure and we now know we did the right thing for the country.
Our patriotic duty.
An Agreement that gave European prospects to a region that had been piling up tensions dangerously and might have allowed the strong presence of third parties on our Northern borders.
And its message is even more relevant in these days of war.
As a message of peace and solidarity among peoples in a continent that is being tested by the horrors of war.
But above all, comrades, we are proud we managed, with the exit from the memoranda in August 2018, to give the country back the freedom to choose and define its future.
And it is this freedom that today gives Greeks the ability to make a fresh start.
To impose political change with their struggles and their vote.
Political change that will be deep and bold and will embrace all aspects of social, economic, and cultural life.
I want to be clear now:
We do not come to manage the tragic situation that Mr. Mitsotakis’ policies have created.
We come to change it fundamentally.
To give breath to democracy, space to social justice, incentives to development, dignity to our country.
I commit myself that our first concern will be to cancel immediately and resolutely the asphyxiating, antidemocratic grid of laws with which the present government has shielded the regime of exploitation of the many by the few.
Of the wasteful distribution of public property.
Of bribery and favors, golden boys, sponsors and sponsored, benefactors and benefited from public money.
We will consign to the dustbin of history:
The Hadzidakis’ law that turned the eight-hour workday into a ten-hour one and made working people the slaves of the 21st century.
The law for private insurance, which generously finances the private funds so that they can control the supplementary insurance and the pensioners’ lives.
The bankruptcy law, which leads citizens, households, and small and medium-sized businesses to bankruptcy with fast-track procedures and only ensures the unconditional satisfaction of the banks.
The Kerameos’ law for education, which blocks the admission to university for thousands of young people with its Minimum Grade Threshold and opens the doors to private schools and colleges.
The law for the establishment of university police, which is a disgrace for democracy and the country.
Sweeping out the Mitsotakis regime’s shameful laws, shameful regulations, and shameful amendments is relatively easy, though.
The hard work that we are ready to take on is to build a new reality of security, democracy, and justice in the country and society.
The hard work is to build together a just society.
To take the social majority again out of the specter of bankruptcy and indignity and create the conditions for a just and inclusive development for our country, taking advantage of its comparative advantages and mainly its most important one, its human resources.
SYRIZA-PA has thoroughly prepared a framework of profound transformations and reforms in all the sections of the country’s social and economic life.
To cut a long story short, though, I would like to call upon you on the starting day of our Congress to commit ourselves before the Greek people who are watching us not to tens but to five key changes.
Five key transformations realizable immediately, the first days of the progressive government, plus a medium-term one.
Five key commitments for the high cost of living, employment, small and medium-sized entrepreneurship, social protection, and the young generation.
Plus one for the change of the production paradigm.
Our first key commitment:
To protect immediately and effectively households and businesses from the unprecedented surge of price rises that eats away at the income of wage earners and the middle class, who run out of money on the third week of the month.
How are we going to manage this?
With a package of interventions that we have already planned:
• We commit ourselves to an increase in minimum wages to 800 euros.
• We commit ourselves to the reinstatement of the public character of DEI [Public Power Corporation] and return of the company to the strategy of defending public benefit instead of that of increasing the profits of its shareholders.
• We commit ourselves to decoupling the energy price from the price of natural gas, with interventions like the ones that the progressive governments of Spain and Portugal have started, and to setting a ceiling on the wholesale price of electricity. Our target is that during the very first days of the progressive governance the consumers will see on their electricity bills a minimum reduction by 50% of the increase they have seen since the beginning of the price rally.
• We commit ourselves to redesigning the national energy strategy.
With acceleration of investments in renewable energy sources.
Postponement of the lignite phase-out and restart of utilization of lignite fields, aiming at energy sufficiency.
Acceleration of the strategic option of energy communities and their spread in local communities.
• We commit ourselves to an Immediate reduction in the Excise Duty on fuels to the minimum levels predicted by the European Commission and a total refund of the Excise Duty to farmers.
• We commit ourselves to the reduction of the VAT for food and necessity goods to the lowest rate.
• Finally, because in this country they are always saying there are no money-bearing trees when asked to support the majority’s right to a decent life, but every day the very same ones water the trees of profiteering and pretend not to notice the windfall profits of energy producers, we commit ourselves to taxing excess profits in energy, which today we estimate at 1.5 billion euros, and returning the full amount to the consumers.
This is our plan for the realization of our first key commitment, the battle against the soaring cost of living.
Our second key commitment is the recovery of labor.
Not only by increasing the minimum wage, but also by reinstating all the regulations the Mitsotakis government has abolished.
Through justifiable dismissal, eight-hour workday, collective agreements and restoration of collective bargaining, reestablishment of the Labor Inspectors’ Service, enactment of strict rules that will block abuses of dismissals, of flexible working hours, and of undeclared work.
But also through the gradual implementation of the 35-hour work week without reduction in wages.
And I would like to point out that our decision to support resolutely the world of labor is not only a matter of social justice.
It is, as it has been proven, a powerful engine of development, as well.
Our third key commitment concerns the support to the small and medium-sized enterprises and the agricultural sector.
Where we commit ourselves to an immediate settlement of the debts created during the pandemic.
With remission of part of their nominal value and at least 120 instalments for the rest.
This is an intervention that the chances are it will not even have a serious fiscal consequence.
Since for the State Treasury, particularly after the surge of price rises, it is true that “you can’t get blood out of a stone”, as the ancient proverb goes.
Therefore, it is primarily a matter of political will.
Whether we want an economy with the majority of small and medium-sized enterprises bankrupt or a new beginning by saving as many as possible.
In this direction, we commit ourselves to the activation of substantial funding programs from the Hellenic Development Bank for small and medium-sized enterprises and farmers and particularly for microcredit programs.
Finally, we have already studied the redesigning of the resources of the Recovery Fund and the NSRF so that both the small and medium-sized entrepreneurship and agricultural production are included in the funding planning process, as today both are absent from the government planning.
Our fourth key commitment is the strengthening of the social state, mainly of healthcare for all with a new ESY [NHS], but also of the veterans of labor, the pensioners.
The new ESY constitutes an emblematic commitment of ours after the dramatic development of the pandemic in our country.
We commit ourselves to increasing the number of the primary health units from 127 today to 380 in the whole country.
To adopting the institution of family doctor.
To establishing a network of integrated digital monitoring and home care.
To the massive recruitment of doctors and nurses, starting from those who fought on the first line against the pandemic.
To the readjustment of wage scales with an entry salary for doctors at 2,000 euros, as an incentive for recruitment in the ESY.
To the elimination of the need for private nurses due to the recruitment of healthcare workers.
To the inclusion of health staff in difficult and hazardous occupations.
To creating a new map of public health and a National Health System that will treat each patient according to their needs and not according to their financial circumstances.
As regards the veterans of labor, the pensioners that Mr. Mitsotakis so shamelessly deceived, we commit ourselves to refunding the relevant amount of money that the government deprived them of so that it would cover the deficit created by the privatization of their supplementary insurance, with the enactment of the 13th pension anew.
Finally, our fifth key commitment concerns the young generation.
The first post-war generation that know they will live in less favorable conditions than the previous ones.
The generation that paid a heavy toll for the economic crisis and the memoranda and today continues to pay, with new barriers in education, in employment, and in fundamental rights, such as to housing.
Therefore, we commit ourselves to restoring their ability to access knowledge.
With a holistic plan for the Public Education that will reinforce the primary and secondary education, with the necessary employment of teachers.
And will simplify the access to the tertiary Education with the enactment of free access to universities where the offered positions allow it.
We also commit ourselves to doubling the number of university teaching and research staff and of the state funding to universities over the next four years
To free tuition in post-graduate courses and special funding to university research centers.
And most of all to the formulation of a national plan for the reinforcement of housing for university students.
And now I am coming to a major issue that concerns university students, as well as, and even more, young people who have finished their university studies, but they are still living in their childhood rooms.
Young people, young couples who do not dare to take the first step to organize their own home, to dream of having their own family.
We commit ourselves to combating this major social problem.
To supporting young people’s right to housing.
With a plan that will secure substantial public support to young couples for the first difficult years.
With the creation of a Housing Bank and combined interventions so that we obtain a substantial reserve of homes available for young couples.
Through an integrated policy that will combine tax incentives to the owners, limitation of short-term lease and floating subsidy to young people and young couples up to 40 years of age.
Ranging from 140 euros a month for individuals to 350 euros a month for couples with two children.
This way we intend to create the conditions for affordable and decent housing, particularly for young people.
These are our five immediate key commitments that will be legislated and start bearing fruit during the first 100 days of the progressive government.
Together with these, it is worth stating our medium-term commitment that concerns the change of our production paradigm.
Because the reversal of the country’s and the economy’s course requires radical redistributive policies.
But not only this.
It also requires structural changes, first and foremost in the production paradigm for sustainable and fair development and real prosperity.
With a shift towards quality, products and services of high added value with a respective social and environmental footprint.
Based on human capital and particularly on highly trained and well-paid young workers.
Because an economy of low wages means an economy of low expectations.
A paradigm that will support the increase in domestic production so that the country will at last find a sustainable and durable development road in the international division of labor.
We must not continue on the wrong road where European resources are headed almost entirely to imports.
We must increase the contribution of the domestic manufacturing and industry to GDP and improve the agricultural sector’s productivity and its ability to cover the country’s basic needs.
To give priority to the green and digital transition with emphasis on the way their benefits are distributed throughout the entire society and economy.
So that the green and digital transition will not become a new harsher source of injustice and inequality.
Because we need to be clear: a plan for green transition that shifts the burden to the many is doomed to collapse. To exist, the green transition must be fair.
• Therefore, we commit ourselves to the decentralization of the production of electric power from renewable sources by households, small and medium-sized enterprises, farmers, energy communities, and municipalities. With securing the essential space for the electric power transmission system and respective funding tools from European resources.
• We commit ourselves to the strengthening and expansion of energy-saving programs in homes, businesses, and public buildings with many more resources and appropriate funding tools.
• We commit ourselves to supporting the research and the development of Greek enterprises in cooperation with universities and research institutes.
• To preparing a national plan for the reinforcement of local production with short value chains and small environmental footprint in the agricultural sector.
• To targeted measures for the reduction of production costs, for creation and encouragement of farmers to join cooperative organizations.
This great effort that aspires to change the country and entails clashes with interests and established convictions cannot succeed without the participation of society.
Therefore, we address an open invitation to working people, farmers, the middle class, the young, and intellectuals to join hands.
To join hands and fight to get rid of the Mitsotakis regime.
For an alliance of development and progress with justice, which will elect and support the progressive government.
The same invitation is addressed to the democratic progressive organizations and parties.
We, the main but not the only progressive force, take on our share of the responsibility.
We reach out to all the progressive forces of this land.
To overcome past problems that separated and hurt us.
To agree on a radical and realistic program.
To join forces, to win, and after the day of the elections with simple proportional representation to form a progressive government.
There is space and role for everyone, regardless of ideological differences.
And a common program of progress will give the cause of progressive governance the great power it needs to change society.
So I call upon them to lay their cards on the table.
What is the fastest way to deliver the country from Mitsotsakis’ government?
How, what government and with what program will take charge of the country’s future?
We are an open book.
We do not exclude anyone but nor will we wait for anyone.
We want to be and we will be first, with a difference, in the elections of simple proportional representation, whenever Mr. Mitsotakis decides to hold them.
We want to be and we will be the main core and the cornerstone of the government that can come out of the elections with simple proportional representation.
A government that will serve the needs of the Greek people, without outside coercion, without blackmail, without hands tied.
We want to be and we are open to collaborations on the basis of a common program of democracy and progress.
And no one shall forget:
Society does not trust and history does not ever remember the absentees from the great battles.
Society and history vindicate those who did not hesitate to go into battle and fight for bread and justice.
In our Congress, though, comrades, we are called on to make important decisions about our own party as well.
To prove that we are ready to change ourselves first so as to succeed in changing the country.
The party is the tool for political change, a vehicle for the ideas of social justice and socialism, the organized force that intervenes promptly and resolutely on all fronts.
Our concern today, in front of the new complex and difficult duties, cannot but be the all-out strengthening of the party’s effectiveness, of its ability to be inside society and fight next to society.
So, I call on you to open up the party to society without fear or prejudice.
So resolutely that the party can eventually become one with the worries, the struggles, the emotions, and the movements of social groups in every place they work and live.
I call on you to recruit the people who support us and vote for us because these people will offer us their knowledge and experience, their action and participation, the liveliness that helps us avoid the bureaucratic reproduction of ourselves.
I call on you to utilize the new technologies of our digital times to this purpose and for the consolidation of direct democracy.
To address the young with modern means, to overcome the big obstacle of the aversion to politics and political parties that the old political system has created.
I call on you to trust the party members without asterisks, theoretical pretexts, and ownership of truth syndromes.
All the party members, old and new, wherever their political resumé starts.
This is the only way - with real organizations of members, a party of members, decisions made by members, choices made by members, and, of course, action of members – for SYRIZA-PA to get stronger and stronger every day, more deeply rooted in society, more ready to carry out its difficult and complex duties successfully.
I call on you to prove that we can make SYRIZA-PA the most democratic and participatory party in Europe.
Not every three or four years, when there is a party congress, but every day, every critical moment.
So that the members of the party take SYRIZA-PA into their own hands today and take Greece into their own hands tomorrow.
So that we prove that we can put the slogan “Democracy in power” into practice.
I call on you, therefore, to support the statutory changes proposed unanimously by the statute committee, as well as my own proposal for election of our collective leadership – President and Central Committee – directly by the party members.
Without intermediaries, all the members of the Party will have the right to vote and the responsibility for their choice.
From the President and the members of the Central Committee or the MPs, to the last member of our remotest organization, we will all have the same rights to decision-making and to the election of the party organs.
Last but not least, I call on you, comrades, to keep something in mind.
Alongside the innovative changes.
Alongside the essential opening to society.
Let us keep, closely guarded in our left breast pocket, the sacred book of the struggles, the sacrifices, the offering to the people, which have always accompanied the Left in its hard course over the decades.
Let us keep and guard our moral codes of unselfishness, comradeship, devotion to the country and the social majority.
With the moral superiority of the Left and its causes, with our roots in history, and the branches and leaves in our times, and the times we want to leave our mark on, let us join in new struggles.
Let us become a party pioneering in structures, procedures, and action.
Let us become a party miniature model of the society we envision.
Let us become ourselves the change we envision.
For justice, for freedom, for Greece.
Because once again, comrades, it has fallen to us to bail out the country and the people.
Fortunately, in this country there is a powerful Left.
There is SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance.
There is a progressive and strong democratic tradition.
Together let us give breath to the popular classes and the middle class.
Together let us support healthy entrepreneurship.
Let us give perspective to the young.
Let us give equal representation to women, who claim at least half the sky.
Forward again with the Left!
Victory for SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance in the next elections. Together, all the progressive forces, we can win even from the first polls.
To bring Political change and a New Beginning for the country.