After months of delays, back-pedaling and improvisations that have exhausted the economy and further eroded citizens’ incomes, a deal between the government of Alexis Tsipras and the country’s international lenders appears likely on May 24.
Without doubt, the government and the opposition will come out with their own creative analysis of the terms of the new memorandum in order to support their diametrically opposed views of the consequences of the adjustment, which the average Greek now looks upon with almost fatalistic apathy after a succession of dashed expectations of an exit from the crisis.
However, citizens who want to remain in the European Union can at least breathe a sigh of relief at the fact that the mobilization in favor of Greece remaining in the eurozone during the referendum last July was not in vain.
Sure, the objective was to push Tsipras out of power and in this the pro-euro movement failed – we can’t have everything we want.
The sensible citizen may justifiably doubt whether the new bailout deal will be successfully implemented by the government and also whether it is what is needed to pull Greece out of the crisis once and for all.
The experience of the last six years only makes us more skeptical of the reliability of local and foreign experts and officials.
It would be naive, though, to doubt the fact that an agreement between Greece and its lenders will bring a sense of stability to the economy for a good period of time: a small rebound, a release from intensive care, to use a medical term.
Yet fluidity in the overall European economic and political system means that Greece’s course will continue to have ups and downs.
What’s most important, though, is the convergence that appears to be in the offing on the crucial issues of relations between Greece and the European Union.
For reasons that we have already discussed at length, the management of the economic crisis from 2010 on crushed PASOK and dealt a serious blow to New Democracy – effectively ending the prevalent two-party system – and eventually brought us a government led by SYRIZA, an incoherent, extreme and unconventional radical-left political party.
But as leader, Tsipras moderated the radical element and brought SYRIZA into the European system, much as Andreas Papandreou did back in the 1980s with the primal PASOK, though over a longer period of time. The story is the same; it’s the pace that’s different.
Some lament the immaturity of the Greeks and hold it accountable for all the fuss and bother. This, however, is also the case in what these people like to think of as “developed” Europe.
The only difference is that there, the challenge comes from the nationalist right.