Angelos Stangos ANGELOS STANGOS

A tough year ahead

COMMENT

TAGS: Politics

Surely, there is hardly anyone on the planet who, on December 31 or January 1, does not wish for the new year to prove better than the previous one. Hope has been one of the fundamental forces of humankind since we developed our current form and corresponding intellectual capacities. Unfortunately, however, in the present circumstances and the current state the world is in, hopes for 2017 turning out to be better than the horrible year just past are slim, if not nonexistent.

Especially in the case of the Greeks, nothing points to their situation improving this year, despite the expectations that the coalition government is hopelessly trying to raise. The administration is following its well-known communication policy of vagueness and impressions, while its relations with the country’s creditors are hanging in midair and no one can say where they’re heading. On the other hand, what is quite clear is the government’s efforts to reinforce its clientele relations in key sectors such as education, health and administration, not just to maintain its party base, but also in order to take full control of the state, not to mention the media.

What is also obvious is that the government has opted to impose even greater taxes and contributions as a means of increasing public revenues and to honor its obligations vis-a-vis its lenders, as opposed to carrying out reforms. The coalition is not even pushing for the privatizations its has pledged to carry out and refuses to develop even a vaguely attractive environment for attracting investment. At the same time, it is unable to move away from the extremist state-centered model which defines it and appears unable to develop a specific plan in tune with reality and current requirements. This means that the real economy’s outlook remains foggy, if not completely dark.

This is all happening in a particularly unstable global environment. Perhaps this is the first time, at least since World War II, that what we know is being challenged so fiercely. Given that Donald Trump is particularly unpredictable and the US is divided, that the Middle East and North Africa are immersed in violence and destruction, that Turkey is on the brink of chaos, that the terrorism of Islamic extremists is creating fear in both East and West, that the refugee and migration issue is taking on huge dimensions, that populism, nationalism and xenophobia are gaining ground everywhere, that Europe is facing the threat of disintegration, and Ukraine has been transformed into a hub of major tension, any kind of prediction regarding the shape of the world at the end of 2017 would be extremely risky.

In other words, the only realistic hope and wish for this new year is for us to be healthy and for reason to prevail.

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