COMMENT

Our own program for the day after

By Alexis Papachelas

Let us agree that the troika must go and the memorandum be abolished immediately. Every political party and the vast majority of the public agree on this. Someone, however, ought to tell the Greek people the truth so they can abandon dangerous illusions. No one will hand over or lend money to Greece if they are not absolutely certain that the country will no longer produce deficits and that its political staff has changed and is capable of handling its own affairs with a sense of accountability. For this to happen two things must be done.

First of all, the country must stick to the rules, keeping an accurate account of what we spend and what we earn, rules that safeguard fiscal discipline. Secondly, we must draw up our own memorandum, a program that will lead to an organized state and the treatment of the country’s principle malaises. Clearly our own, in-house memorandum should be gospel, a set of rules agreed on by as many political powers as possible, who will then undertake the task of explaining and persuading people of its purpose and necessity.  

Let’s make one more thing clear: There are those who like to come across as being passionately anti-memorandum while, at the same time, passionately preaching a pro-euro agenda. This is not only true of politicians who belong to the traditional left or to the extreme right. This applies to all those who want to see Greece an equal member of the eurozone club but without it having to exercise the kind of discipline that, one way or another, this sort of participation requires.

People ought to realize that these politicians are not only anti-memorandum, but are in effect championing a return to the drachma. They would love to be able to just print money, hand it out to whoever and whenever they feel like, without ever being held accountable by anyone regarding fiscal figures. Basically, they want to behave exactly like the Greek political system behaved over the last few decades, leading the country to its current state. But this can no longer go on. Global markets will not lend us money and Europeans will not support us if the political system in its entirety does not prove, in practical terms, that it has changed.

The current government has a huge opportunity. Even if it adopts a soft anti-memorandum stance in order to survive politically, it has to proceed with reforms and stand its ground.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras took a great risk and now finds himself unbearably compressed between several contradicting powers. If he fails to maintain a firm position disaster lurks for both him and the country. But both he and the country must reach the other side.

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