COMMENT

Greece, getting smaller

MARIA KATSOUNAKI

TAGS: Society, Economy

“Instead of ‘Little Greece’ we need a serious Greece,” former Prime Minister Costas Simitis told the Delphi Economic Forum on Friday.

As he spoke, Athens was suffocating again because of a mass transit strike, “unknown persons” were destroying ticket validating machines on buses, Eurostat’s figures showed that Greece is the consistent champion in unemployment, at 23 percent (with the next country, Spain, at 18.2 percent and the eurozone average at 9.6 percent), while a report from the Cologne Institute for Economic Research (IW) named Greece the leader in the percentage rise of poverty.

The talks between the Greek government and its creditors show more differences than convergence, while Politico reported that the government has asked the World Bank for technical and financial assistance…

Each of the issues we mentioned has a past, present and future. They are not the same – some are tied to the economic crisis, other are not.

One could argue that putting them together is aimed at making an impression. But let’s ask ourselves how the destruction of ticket validating machines was allowed to become a hobby.

How have illegality and criminality become normal? How will unemployment and poverty be reduced when every investment crashes against denial, suspicion and compulsive behavior? When the only thing that grows is the amount of taxes and social security fees that we must pay? Let us ask ourselves this: When did the discussion that for a strike to be held “50 percent plus 1” of employees must agree, so as to put an end to the impunity of minorities? Why has union leadership that is allied to political parties become “the right to strike” whereas any effort at reform serves the interests of the “economic oligarchy”?

How can anyone trust a government that, while “negotiating hard” at the same time declares “the crisis is over,” while behaving as if this were a Third World country?

Every day we are further gone in our illness and further from recovery.

Little Greece is neither honest nor serious. It is not size that makes her lack credibility, but the ever-deeper national autism, the constant repetition of the performance “we are fighting for solutions” while caring nothing for solutions.

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