Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis -at the invitation of US President Joe Biden- participated, via teleconference, in the works of the 2nd Summit for Democracy, co-organised by the United States, Costa Rica, the Netherlands, South Korea and Zambia.
The Prime Minister participated in the thematic session entitled “Democracy delivers economic growth and shared prosperity”, where he made the following statement:
I strongly share your view – expressed at September’s UN General Assembly – that genuine freedom is having the opportunity to live life to the fullest with dignity. But genuine freedom can only be delivered through genuine democracy.
Adam Smith argued that laws and institutions that protect the liberty of individuals to accomplish their full potential result in greater prosperity for society at large.
In Greece we have learnt that the hard way. The economic meltdown that gripped my country for much of the last decade threatened the very fabric of Greek society and weakened our institutions.
Not anymore. In 2019 Greeks rejected dogma in favour of democratic resilience and reform, based on strong legal frameworks, and independent and representative institutions. In the four years since, my government has prioritized the digitization of the State, waged war on corruption and passed hundreds of laws modernizing my country.
Our success does not lie in top-down administrative process, but in the ownership of these important reforms by well-informed, socially minded and engaged citizens who flourish in an open, tolerant, free, pluralistic and democratic society.
At the same time, government accountability and transparency, a free press, and equal access for all to a fair and impartial justice system, is pivotal to delivering social justice and inclusive, equitable growth.
Today I am proud to report that Greece is one of only three countries in Europe to have incorporated the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals into our annual planning.
We continue and will continue to pursue reforms around digital transition and e-governance too, driving the important direct participation across civil society, but also enfranchising young and old alike.
But digital isn’t just a great enabler of economic growth, it’s a great enabler of democratization itself.
Digital innovation, tech and now AI are helping policy makers offer global solutions to complex geopolitical issues, from the fight against climate change to the preservation of biodiverse habitats, from green energy provision to the understanding and management of the drivers of mass migration.
Closer to home, digital reform is reducing red tape and administrative costs for businesses, delivering a fairer and less cumbersome tax system and opening up access for all to digital services.
We know that in countries devoid of transparency, accountability and representation, with poor track records on human rights and the rule of law, limited civil society participation and few if any strong independent institutions, the pursuit of political agendas over economic growth and prosperity is preventing citizens from achieving their full potential.
Today the threat to our democratic way of life is perhaps more acute than at any time in the last three decades. That is why we must never waver in the promotion of political, civil and economic rights, by bolstering democratic institutions and the rule of law, championing accountability, challenging corruption and fighting for inclusivity.
By promoting economic development and prosperity, we are not only strengthening the foundations of democracy as a bulwark against those who threaten us, but also as an incubator for those who wish to join us, for those who wish every citizen to live life to the fullest with dignity.
Greece was also invited and participated in the 1st Summit, in 2021.
A message by the Prime Minister was also broadcast during the Summit:
Honourable co-hosts, dear colleagues,
Democracy nurtures freedom and justice and sustains peace. Unfortunately, it continues to be threatened around the world. On the European continent, democracy is under brutal and sustained attack in Ukraine: a sovereign nation illegally invaded by an aggressor opposed to the democratic values we all hold so dear.
The 2nd Summit for Democracy is therefore a timely occasion not only to join forces in strengthening democracy, but to come together in its defence whenever and wherever it is under attack or under threat.
In the Year of Action that followed the inaugural Summit for Democracy, Greece has pursued efforts, both domestically and globally, to safeguard and further promote peace, security, human rights and sustainable development. Our candidacies for the United Nations Security Council for the term 2025-2026 and the United Nations Human Rights Council for the term 2028-2030 are but one reflection of my country’s determination to contribute to the strengthening of a rules-based international system.
Domestically, the Year of Action and the implementation of our commitments since the 1st Summit has been the overarching framework for my Government’s policies. We have upheld all our commitments around the rule of law, accountability, anti-corruption and inclusiveness, in order to improve the quality of our democracy.
Our ambitious reform programme, to promote better, transformative and codified legislation has been delivering tangible results for our citizens, such as expediting the delivery of justice by reducing the number of days needed to issue court decisions.
The paradigm shift in planning, monitoring, evaluation and effective implementation, has not only increased public accountability, transparency and inclusiveness, but also encouraged people’s participation. In addition, a number of national action plans on the rights of the child, the rights of persons with disabilities, and on gender equality, as well as, for the first time in my country, a national strategy for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, are already being implemented.
Moreover, Greece is one of three countries in Europe that has incorporated the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in its yearly government planning, and regularly submits its compliance report to the UN, in line with our commitment to sustainable and inclusive development.
We have been working tirelessly to combat corruption through the National Transparency Authority. Our work is reflected in the corruption and governance indexes of Transparency International, The World Bank and The Economist, where our ranking has been constantly improving.
And, of course, the massive digitalization of services offered to the Greek people is another concrete result of our commitment to the fight against corruption, and to ensuring our democracy is more effective, more efficient and more accountable.
Our work, obviously, does not end with the implementation of the commitments we undertook in 2021. Following our upcoming parliamentary elections, we pledge to continue working with all stakeholders and partners, both here in Greece and internationally, in order to safeguard our rules-based system, and with it the future of democracy.