Greece may need stability in Europe and the world so that it can make up for lost time, but everything is in flux. We may have a new government and new faces in politics, we may hope that Greece is entering a period of stability and growth, but this will depend on many factors inside and outside the country.
In Europe, the new people chosen for critical positions show that the EU wants to change neither character nor course. Events, though, will determine whether this is feasible. In Turkey, the president may remain the same but he has overturned his country’s traditional course, with unpredictable consequences for Turkey, Greece and the region. On the international scene, the intense maneuvering between the United States, Russia and China complicates the situation even further.
The European Commission’s new president, Ursula von der Leyen, may adopt new policies, in accordance with Europeans’ concern over climate change, but it is difficult to imagine her leading the EU toward greater political union against German objections. Similarly, Christine Lagarde may be a familiar face to us, but as head of the European Central Bank it is highly unlikely that she will push her mandate to the limit and do “whatever it takes” to save the euro in the face of German opposition, as Mario Draghi did. Even if things look the same, the results may be different.
In Athens, the government has got off to a flying start. With a comfortable majority in Parliament, after long preparation and with great determination, it already has such momentum that it's easy to forget it was elected just 12 days ago. We must not forget, though, that developments will not be determined only by its own ambitions, nor just by the relationship between government and opposition, nor the clash between government and unions.
The forces of deep reaction lie in wait. The artificial intelligence of the bureaucracy is primed to create obstacles continually and to prolong inertia. Countless interest groups – large and small, political, economic, judicial, social – affix themselves to power so as to ensure their dominance over the rest.
No government has escaped defeat at the hands of bureaucracy and parasites. Will this one? Founding a Ministry for Digital Government, with a deputy ministry for “simplifying procedures” is a positive sign, a super-weapon. If the government uses it responsibly, but also with determination and daring, the obstacles and the parasites will be beaten. Then Greece will be able to stand on its own feet in a world of change.