Saturday October 25, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
19o C
12o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Delusions in the face of danger

By Nikos Konstandaras

Greece's politicians are in a desperate battle in Parliament, debating harsh austerity measures and other changes that our creditors' demand. Society stands in fear of the new wave of deprivation that it will face. Greece is at a critical juncture. If the government fails to pass the measures, the country will not get the next tranche of an international bailout and will be carried away on an unpredictable torrent; if the bill is passed, the cuts will test the limits of society. Whatever the outcome, in a few days Greece will be in another era, facing new difficulties, new challenges. How will we deal with this?

A basic rule of survival is to know the danger we face, to know our resources, the possible ways we can escape, and our final target. Unfortunately, in Greece today we still refuse to agree on the reality of our situation. Divided, suspicious of each other, we do not cooperate – and while we like to believe that others are responsible for our ills, we demand solutions from others. This stems from our political culture, in which, for many years, our main parties did nothing but lay into each other with the harshest language, even though their policies did not differ much. This created a spirit of “all or nothing” and the understanding that if we do not kick up a mighty fuss we don't get what we want. In short, there is no culture of discussion and compromise.

Because our client-patron system was structured on the principle that political will can solve all problems, we are still influenced by the feeling that the individual citizen does not have to deal with reality – as long as he negotiates with it through his political party, his trade union, or any other group to which he belongs. The parties which present reality as they wish it to be, in order to win votes, feed this social paranoia. The result is that governments have always found it difficult to make people believe that reforms are essential, whereas opposition parties have the easiest time undermining every proposed change. Now the coalition government's parties warn of impending doom while the opposition parties claim that it is all a bluff, that the austerity is unnecessary.

Addicted to division, our inability to agree on what is real stretches to our inability to trust anything that we hear, whether it be from foreign governments and organizations or from our own government, as well as local and foreign media. This suspicion can be explained by promises that were not kept, by failed policies and by institutions' long-term lack of interest in the well-being of citizens. For this mentality to change, for the citizens to gain a sense of trust, they must see specific changes: With the reforms being adopted in Greece, our partners must, at last, guarantee that our country will remain in the eurozone; the state must pay its debts to companies and individuals, which will total 10 billion euros by the end of this year; investment programs and bank loans must provide money for the market. For years now, the lack of liquidity has multiplied the already terrible problems of unemployment, lower incomes and higher taxes.

To establish a sense of security and stability throughout the EU, the member states must move quickly toward banking and fiscal union, and, ideally, guarantee a minimum health and medical system for all of Europe's people. The Greeks, who have been on the edge of the abyss for so long, who are deeply disillusioned, have the right to hear something positive, to be given some hope, so that they can pursue their difficult targets. Because other people will find themselves in similar difficulty while Europe looks for new ways to promote growth and achieve new social balances, if the EU takes measures for all Europe, it will ease tensions in other countries and allow some time for reforms and the successful deepening of union. Managing the Greek problem is a crucial test for Europe, and a stronger Europe will be Greece's salvation.

When the European framework is secured, when Greek institutions begin to function effectively and without discrimination, when money flows back into the economy, maybe the Greeks will feel that their country and Europe are on their side. When they are allowed to hope that they have a destination, they will be able to face their difficult reality, make their choices, and start again. The road, whichever one we follow, will be difficult. Let it be the right one, then.

ekathimerini.com , Tuesday November 6, 2012 (22:10)  
Tension for tension’s sake?
Testing ground
Defusing a crisis
PM needs to step up
Athens, Nicosia satisfied by EU leaders´ stance toward Ankara
A reference in Friday’s European Council conclusions calling on Turkey to respect Cyprus’s sovereign rights left Athens and Nicosia content with the outcome of the European Union leaders’ su...
Suspended policeman chief suspect in cousin’s murder
A 27-year-old police officer who has been suspended from duty since 2013 for extortion, is being treated as the chief suspect in a murder committed in a suburb of Piraeus on Thursday. Police...
Inside News
TAIPED waits for green light from Eurostat
Eurostat has frozen the securitization of properties that the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED) had been planning. The project, drafted to bring some 400 million euros into t...
Trade deficit shrinks on big drop in imports
Greece’s trade deficit shrank 29.5 percent year-on-year in August as a result of the considerable 16.3 percent decline in imports, Hellenic Statistical Authority figures revealed on Friday. ...
Inside Business
BASKETBALL
A win is a win is a win for Olympiakos
A bad Olympiakos defeated a worse Laboral Kutxa 63-57 to make it two out of two in the Euroleague on Friday. In a game where the two teams had an overall field goal rate of about one in thre...
SOCCER
Panathinaikos snatches point at Eindhoven
Panathinaikos offered its fans a glimpse of its glorious past in European competitions snatching a draw at PSV Eindhoven, on an otherwise bad night for Greek soccer in the Europa League, as ...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. A win is a win is a win for Olympiakos
2. TAIPED waits for green light from Eurostat
3. Trade deficit shrinks on big drop in imports
4. SMEs unable to claim subsidies
5. Taxes kept growing in second quarter
6. Thessaloniki Port expects 2014 to be record year
more news
Today
This Week
1. Woman killed in tram accident in Floisvo, south of Athens
2. Clocks to go back 1 hour on Sunday
3. Venizelos slams Turkey for 'flagrant violation of international law' off Cyprus
4. ECB vies for third time lucky in European stress tests
5. Cyprus GDP upgrade seen as boosting bailout exit plans
6. ECB bank assessment to show 6-billion-euro capital gap, Citi says
Today
This Week
1. The past, present and future of the Greek debt crisis
2. Greece’s closed society is central to its current malaise
3. Greece must stick to reforms, says Schaeuble
4. At least 11 banks to fail European stress tests, three in Greece, report says
5. Cyprus to block Turkey's EU talks after EEZ violation
6. Stop moaning and get in the game
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.