Shunning the hard stuff


TAGS: Politics

While Greece’s leftist-led administration is busy organizing cheap publicity stunts for domestic consumption, the major issues dogging this country remain unresolved.

Government officials are trying to manipulate public debate so as to deflect Greeks’ attention from otherwise burning issues such as the potential repercussions of the ongoing migrant and refugee crisis, stubbornly high unemployment figures, the infuriating demise of the country’s university institutions, and the tragic shortcomings in the health sector.

Maximos Mansion’s political agenda is divorced from reality. And it is the job of the conservative opposition to burst this bubble on a daily basis.

Despite the country’s disheartening and often humiliating performance regarding a wide range of indicators (the German Bertelsmann Foundation on Thursday ranked Greece last among 41 states in terms of its future viability with regard to economic policies), and although the results of this performance are experienced firsthand by ordinary citizens, the government will not change its tune, clinging to the now-familiar moves: clamping down on media freedom, claiming war reparations from Germany, and the use of divisive language via pro-government media.

In particular, the way in which the government has handled the issue of compensation for Nazi atrocities in WWII indicates a complete lack of legal understanding about the functioning of international courts. Ruling officials are indifferent to the outcome of the case as long as they manage to score political points that will allow them to perpetuate their grip on power.

Several key dates lie ahead. The coalition is moving ahead with the tender for the new broadcasting licenses. It is a rather vague process that appears to flout the rules of the Constitution. It is also a process that is perfectly in line with the establishment mentality that has corroded the discourse of government spokespeople. Meanwhile, there is no shortage of doublespeak (one set of arguments for the domestic public, a different set for Greece’s creditors) ahead of the second bailout review this fall and the vote on additional measures by the end of the year.

It’s hard to see the purpose behind the populist language about media barons or war reparations in the face of pure mathematics. The government will eventually have to meet the country’s international obligations not because it wants to, but because it has no room for maneuver.

True to form, this government is once again shunning the hard stuff. This is far from a responsible attitude, even less so at a time when Greece desperately needs a boost to economic activity, the only path to jobs and prosperity.