Alexis Papachelas ALEXIS PAPACHELAS

Alone in the ICU

COMMENT

There are those who ask, “What do foreigners have to say about what is going in Greece?” The answer is that they don’t really care that much.

Those dealing with Greek issues are suffering from the “Greek fatigue” syndrome, which has arisen from the effort required in order to decode half-truths, find out what is really going on behind the scenes, and endure the implementation of clearly needed reforms. If you add to this mix the effort needed to comprehend local paranoia, you will see that it’s no easy task.

Sometimes it is hard even for us, who actually live in this complicated country, to understand everything that’s going on.

What is certain is that our partners do not want to hand any more money to Greece. That’s why they would like to see the country return to
international markets sometime next year.

However, the conditions for this to happen are not in place yet, given that such a return would require both a reform shock and the flow of investment into the economy, as well as a clear political horizon. While we never had the former, the latter appears not to be entirely predictable.

Europe, however, does not want to witness another round of Greek drama. They have plenty on their plates and cannot bear the thought of managing yet another crisis. So they are demonstrating patience, turning a blind eye every now and then, and waiting. It’s hard to tell how long this tolerance will continue for. Certain incidents which have already taken place have given rise to distrust and occasional anger.

Even the most well-intentioned realize that the narrative of a clash with the local oligarchy is not entirely solid, due to the raging efforts to develop a new, more controllable system of vested interests. On the other hand, those voices arguing that “That’s the way they operate down there. Why bother?” are, unfortunately, becoming more convincing.

Our inability to manage even the very basics turned into a boomerang situation even in the case of the refugee and migrant crisis. Those who count in European capitals believe that the solution would be to seal Greece’s borders toward the north and see what happens. Nothing less, nothing more.

That’s how those on the outside view the country at this point.

In this light, the most likely scenario is that they will leave us alone – on the face of it.

In other words, they will allow us to lie in our intensive care unit bed, intubated and nurturing the illusion that we will get well soon.

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