Pantelis Boukalas PANTELIS BOUKALAS

Forever Seferis’s drying pitcher

COMMENT

TAGS: Society, Economy, EU, Politics

Whether it’s supervision, oversight or guardianship, whatever term we choose to describe Greece’s relationship of stifling dependence on its foreign creditors, the meaning is still the same and quite unbearable. It is also incredibly humiliating for the people of this country, both the older generations, many of whom fought for its independence, and the younger ones, who have had to face the fact that their wings have been clipped before they could even test them. Without regaining our national sovereignty – something that every government claims to hold as its loftiest goal – we will not be able to cure ourselves of this national depression nor stem the outflow of educated and skilled professionals. We will remain stuck in the state described so dishearteningly by Giorgos Seferis: “This place – earthen pitcher – gets drier and drier.”

Everything that has happened – inside and outside Greece – following the government’s decision to grant a meager sum to help enfeebled pensioners and to temporarily freeze a value-added tax hike on the islands worst affected by the refugee crisis, came once more as proof of two things.

The first is that our lenders – or partners as they are euphemistically described – mean it entirely when they say that Greece is under supervision (or even a protectorate from the Germans’ point of view) and demand that this supervision extend to every decision and move, great or small. Indifferent to the notion of solidarity and to the fact that this country is being sorely tested by the refugee crisis, they are unleashing all of their severity on Greece, despite the fact that they tend to rein it in when it comes to dealing with countries that are either more powerful or in the same ranks of the European hierarchy, even when they disrespect the directives of the German hegemony.

The second thing is the inability – or reluctance, rather – of the democratic Greek parties to agree on even the most basic of things. Instead of wasting their energy on a war of words, they could agree from the onset (even if it means that every party would displease some of its more fanatical supporters) on something as simple as reserving the inalienable right of the state to use whatever money is left over from its contractual commitments in order to help citizens who are worst-off. There was no such thing in the runup to the latest crisis, of course. Such a thing is prohibited by party egoism and the obsession with power. The country’s political parties were not even able to come together to issue a terse response to the creditors saying that it will not be subjected to such severe oversight.

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