Angelos Stangos ANGELOS STANGOS

Opposite directions

COMMENT

TAGS: Economy, Politics, Privatizations

It was less than a month ago that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in an interview with Skai TV that whatever helps create jobs can be considered leftist policy.

His comment was interpreted as a change in direction, especially with regard to the country’s privatization program.

It was also seen as a message to his ministers and SYRIZA members.

It would perhaps be presumptuous at this stage to question how genuine Tsipras was being, but we can say with some confidence that if he was intending to deliver a message, the people who were its intended recipients have not received it yet.

There are very strong indications that this is the case. One example is Shipping Minister Theodoros Dritsas’s recent attempt to change the terms of the contract between Greece and Cosco for the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP).

This prompted other ministers to intervene to rectify the situation. Dritsas appeared to be moving in the opposite direction from the one marked out by Tsipras, even if it is very different to what he heralded when in opposition.

It appears Tsipras realizes that there has to be growth for there to be new jobs or that for there to be growth there has to be new private investment in Greece.

It is not at all clear that some of his ministers see things the same way. How they perceive growth and job creation is something of a mystery.

This raises the question of how the prime minister will proceed when the people he has appointed as ministers refuse or are unable to follow him along this new path.

This back-and-forth that is going on means that things are not progressing. Rather than being at a standstill, the country should be moving forward rapidly and escaping suffocation.

The failure to move forward does not just relate to issues that are linked to the economy.

The effort to strengthen statism and moves to create an impervious regime will not give the country a chance to breathe.

The same goes for the government’s tendency to show tolerance in the face of actions by self-styled anarchists, such as squatting, vandalism and attacks against the Church.

No economy can improve in such an environment.

At the moment, the prime minister appears to be following the strategy of letting all the flowers bloom, given that he displays tolerance and does not intervene to stop this instability.

He may be waiting for SYRIZA’s congress later this year in order to perform a clean up operation. His inaction so far, though, is not a very encouraging sign.

Online