Shipping Minister Theodoros Dritsas was not present on Friday at Zappeion Hall in central Athens for the signing of a deal between the Greek state and Chinese shipping giant Cosco for a majority stake in Piraeus Port Authority (OLP). The minister’s stance on privatizations in general is already well known. In this case, though, not only is he opposed to the deal with the Chinese company, but there have been leaks suggesting that Dritsas believes the deal has no legal standing unless it is ratified by Parliament. Admittedly, Dritsas’s involvement in the whole affair can be considered negligible at best.
We mention Dritsas only for indicative purposes. After all, the prime minister himself did not want to be at the signing ceremony. The shipping minister is not alone in the odd style of governance of the SYRIZA-led government, according to which the sale of Piraeus Port Authority was mandated only by the demands of the country’s foreign creditors and was not necessary or a step in the right direction. This would be a step whereby the government would not consider privatizations a complete sellout and would not allow its decisions to be influenced by the fear that they could anger its voters even more.
What does having a government that is clinging to power without a plan, without any sense of organization and without any desire to exercise some self-criticism mean for Greece? I say this because from its actions and decisions so far, the only thing the coalition has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt is its determination to remain in power. You may argue that there’s nothing new about that and every other government has more or less wanted and gone after the same thing. But by comparing this government to others before it we are simply spreading around the responsibility for the country’s problems. Greece is bankrupt and what it needs has already been written down on paper, so we can only wonder what there is to gain by “leaks” such as the one regarding Dritsas’s view of the Cosco deal. How, for example, can the deal for Piraeus Port Authority possibly go ahead when the minister who is responsible for it not only believes it to be wrong but has also expressed his intention to do everything in his power to ensure that it is not implemented?
The closer the government gets to the core of the bailout agreement it has signed with the country’s foreign creditors, the more its decisions will be influenced by its own contradictions, its self-destructive bent and the chaos that prevails within its ranks. The more that logic and reason are undermined by the irrational, the more the ludicrous will replace even the last stores of chicanery. The truth can only be manipulated so far.