Supervision and illusions

By Alexis Papachelas

Champions of a Greek return to the drachma, on both the left and the right of the political spectrum, all share a conviction that we should take into serious consideration: Even if the debt-hit country ditches the memorandum and the IMF supervision comes to an end, the economy will still have to remain under strict fiscal control.

There are many reasons for that. Most of them have to do with what our Northern European peers think about our political system as well as the country’s elites. Despite serious efforts, trust in Greece has not been restored. The most popular forecast, which is based on the lingering stereotype about Greeks, is that “when these guys come out of supervision, they will soon switch back to their old habits.” It may sound unfair, but that is what outsiders really think about us.

Overall, the eurozone is moving toward stricter inspecting mechanisms for fiscal policy and the banking system. It is more or less taking for granted that members of the common currency area will give up more of their sovereignty on these issues.

Therefore, all those in favor of observing Greece maintaining its eurozone status should be under no illusions.

The political mix might go through certain changes, Greece might make progress in terms of growth and the country’s debt could be reduced considerably.

In order for all of this to materialize, however, Greece will be obliged to carry on wearing the straitjacket of strict supervision for a very long time.

Those who imagine that it is feasible to have your cake and eat it ought to stop fooling themselves and, more importantly, fooling the Greek people.

Greece without inspections will be a country outside the eurozone area.

It will be a country which might not wear a straitjacket, but it will find itself inside a madhouse of isolation and total collapse.