The government is determined to eliminate domestic terrorism, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in an interview to Giorgos Aftias and Skai TV on Sunday morning.
Referring to a weeked sweep by police that resulted in 15 detentions and two arrests, he said that "a very dangerous operational branch of neo-terrorism in Greece" was dismantled, noting that a methodical operation had led to a water-tight court file, now in the hands of justice. Mitsotakis also congratulated the Counterterrorism Service for its work and stressed that "slowly but surely, security and order is being restored in Greece."
The prime minister also announced that 1,500 new police staff were completing their studies shortly and that the former Delta motorcycle unit of the police, for immediate response to serious incidents, would be reintroduced. "Greek citizens will feel safe again," PM Mitsotakis said, "and this is a commitment."
He also referred to an investigation of Economic University premises by police on Sunday morning, underlining that universities should be handed over to students "and end be put to hideouts, destructive rioters and firebomb-making labs." He said that sweeps related to security would continue to be held throughout Greece. "This policy is not related to party affiliations - right, left or center. The public's protection is an obligation of the state," he underlined.
Speaking of the economy, the premier said that the excess primary surplus would be distributed at the end of the year to vulnerable segments of society, while he added that the property tax (ENFIA) will be reduced next year as well, though not for "those who have villas on Mykonos," who will see their bills rise.
On migration, Mitsotakis said that the system is "tightening up" and focusing on giving asylum to migrants who qualify, while the rest will be returned. More details on centers where migrants will await return will be announced shortly. Referring to the EU, he said it is gradually changing its position on asylum, and, referring to Turkey's stance on migration, he said the government will not negotiate under threats or bullying.
He added that the option of having other EU states share the burden of processing asylum applications, as proposed by German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, would relieve Greece of the workload it is shouldering as an EU border and entry country.
On recent decisions by the Council of State - the country's highest administrative court - about past pension withholdings, he said the government will adopt the rulings and any pay-backs will be covered through the new insurance system and tax reforms. The new insurance system, he stressed, will be simple and fair.
Among other issues raised, Mitsotakis revealed that every Greek citizen would be soon issued a unique number and card that will simplify bureaucratic processing and burden of proof for both individuals and the state, promoting digital services. "When this is completed, it will prove a truly revolutionary change in the relations of citizens with the state," he noted.
On bank fees
Asked to comment on investigations of the Competition Committee on banks and their fee policies this past week, he said, "It's not my job to intervene; banks are private businesses. I just pointed out to banks that they need to review their policies. At the same time, the Competition Committee is investigating. We didn't know that, and we shouldn't have known of it."
The premier said the government is implementing its electoral campaign promises and will abolish extra fees withheld from freelancers and business owners the latest by 2023, and asserted the government will complete its four-year term in 2023.