The danger is still here

By Costas Iordanidis

It’s hard to be certain about the implications of Greece’s return to international bond markets, as was announced on Wednesday. People with good knowledge of finance will no doubt offer their opinions on the issue, which was naturally caught up in the election campaign ahead of May’s local and European ballots.

It seems fair to say however that Greece – or, rather, the New Democracy-PASOK governing coalition – has significantly adapted to the ideas and practices that took hold of the European Union in the wake of the global banking crisis in 2008 and the country’s bankruptcy in 2010.

Hence, regardless of any problems that have been put on hold until after the elections, there is an overall sense that the stability of the financial environment has been restored, at least to some extent.

The problem right now is the political volatility which is undermining any long-term efforts.

All opposition parties are against the government policy. And it is clear that neither Prime Minister Antonis Samaras nor Deputy Premier Evangelos Venizelos can do anything to change the minds of those in the opposition camp.

Perhaps things would be different if Greek party leaders had been able to maintain a channel of communication – a common practice in the past. Instead they chose to go for a head-on collision.

One wonders why former cabinet secretary Panayiotis Baltakos, who claimed to have been putting out feelers regarding the intentions of Golden Dawn, did not use the same tactics with other opposition parties in a way that would benefit Greece vis-a-vis its foreign lenders.

In any case, a key priority for the two mainstream parties in the coalition should be to galvanize their fighting forces.

It is PASOK which is facing the biggest challenge.

The recent actions of former leader George Papandreou and the Baltakos affair have both caused a fair amount of frustration among the Socialists.

For New Democracy the most pressing problem at the moment is the flow of voters to the right of the party.

Samaras chose to fight Golden Dawn on a legal level, but little was done on the political level.

Spasmodic attacks on the left by conservative officials are of little effect because the main issue should be to redefine the traditional meaning of patriotism, which is being tested by the advance of a multiethnic and multicultural European system.

To be sure, there is not enough time before the elections to examine such substantial changes and political instability, whose consequences are unpredictable, will most likely remain.