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Putting an end to the punishment

By Alexis Papachelas

Considering that things have reached a critical point, I believe that the time has come for the country’s partners and creditors to take a good look in the mirror.

As a society we have done the same, to a certain extent, while more mature Greeks have recognized the mistakes that have been committed – the bad management, waste and corruption.

We have engaged in self-flagellation for all of this and have been sufficiently whipped by others as well.

Everyone now agrees with the conclusions reached by the crudely honest Jean-Claude Juncker, who has argued that Germany displayed an overly harsh stance toward Greece, a position which was expressed through the involvement of the International Monetary Fund and the initially high interest rates of the first memorandum.

We’ve been through all this before, but we should not forget the mistakes for which we were not entirely to blame. Consider the issue of corruption, for instance. It takes two to tango, and the Greek graft-and-vested-interests tango always took on the role of partner to German or French companies who paid large amounts of money in order to seal major deals in Greece. Then of course there’s the role of Brussels. Where was Joaquin Almunia and the rest of the European Union officials who kept quiet as they observed Greece hurtling toward disaster in 2010? Why didn’t they speak out back then instead of pretending to be shocked later on?

Consider the European banks and rating agencies. How could they have been so wrong in their predictions when the latter hailed the prospects of the Greek economy while the former loaned the country as much as they possibly could?

It’s all water under the bridge, you might say. In the end European banks barricaded themselves behind a protective wall and European officials took refuge behind the security of the almighty bureaucracy while we were left to pay the bill. That is not to say we should adhere to the “We Won’t Pay” movement. That would be disastrous and would lead the country into a profound crisis of no return. But we do need a change in the contract if we are to exit the crisis.

Greece’s partners and creditors should offer the country more precise and positive prospects, on the condition that we undertake to sort things out at our end.

The relentless pressure must come to an end around this time if they wish to see Greece stand on its own two feet and be in a position to maintain its pledges.

ekathimerini.com , Tuesday December 17, 2013 (22:42)  
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