As it is customary in this Ministry, every time I step up to a podium to speak, there is a written speech in front of me. And there is always an instruction not to stray one iota from it. I can understand that, it is the right thing to do. Usually in this position, what one says is heard by different people, translated or interpreted by different people.
But allow me, at this juncture, not to stick to the file, but to simply put it aside and say a few words from my heart, Mr. President.
Firstly, because I wish to thank you for the honour you do to my father, to my family, to me, to remember him.
Secondly, to tell you that I feel like I am with my family. Because ever since I was a young child, I have always felt part of the family of Chambers. I have always felt part of the people who were trying to increase the “national pie”, to advise governments on how to increase the National Income, improve working conditions, and boost national wealth. How we could do better. And I believe that’s the most important issue, especially now, Mr. President, following three consecutive, major crises.
I think things would have been different in Greece if the COVID-19 crisis had not had occurred immediately after the debt crisis, and if our government and our society had not had to deal with a current, prolonged national crisis at the same time. Because, ladies and gentlemen, our country has been through many crises with Turkey, but all of them were limited in time. This is the first time that the crisis has persisted for a full three years. And this is a factor that hinders the national effort for growth and progress.
And also as a result of another crisis, that of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, our society, the commercial world and the government have to deal with both rising prices and a shortage of materials and goods.
But you will allow me to say that I firmly believe, Mr. President, that Greek entrepreneurship has the capacity to cope despite the difficulties and to lead the country to a future that is more prosperous, more stable, richer and more secure. And you should know that our aim, the government’s aim, is to support you, the people who are fighting to increase national wealth, in this effort.
I would like to tell you that in my own small way I will always stand by your side. And please accept my heartfelt request to always think of me as a member of your own large and great family.
Thank you so much for honouring us this evening.