Thursday Jul 31, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
32o C
25o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Unanswered questions

By Alexis Papachelas

Its been four years since Greece signed the first memorandum. Back then Prime Minister George Papandreou had come into an explosive situation given that the markets had already predicted that the country, unable to pay back its loans, would go up in flames in the spring of 2010. Putting aside the issue of Papandreous opposition to absolutely everything from discussing the debt with his predecessor Costas Karamanlis, when the latter was PM, to various privatizations what remains incomprehensible is why he did not take advantage of the pass given to him by Karamanlis: The latter had been crystal clear on the need to take immediate fiscal measures. Perhaps it was hypocritical on Karamanliss part or he was trying to dodge the issue, as he could have taken steps when Giorgos Alogoskoufis was finance minister. The fact is that his New Democracy successor, Antonis Samaras, also urged Papandreou to take measures initially.

Papandreou was aware of the size of the deficit and the debt. But he opted to follow partisan advice which dictated that taking measures would result in him losing credibility. History would be more lenient toward him had he admitted to being wrong and unable to fulfill his promises, and had proceeded with cuts right away. What followed was a period of chaotic management during which certain officials went looking for loans, unsuccessfully, from China, Russia and several Arab states.

Meanwhile, the hard core of PASOK did everything in its power to thwart even the most basic cuts. This was accompanied by open consultations with anyone holding an opinion on how to deal with the problem. The premier and the government adopted dramatic tones but no tough measures were taken. Things came to a head when Berlin showed reluctance to help Greece early on. It is not known who supported the idea of involving the IMF in a Greek bailout program but some reports suggested that Papandreou insisted on this, influenced by his US center-left advisers as a means of exerting pressure on the eurozone.

The fact is that either the ECB nor the European Commission wanted the IMF in their way at the start. The decision was finally taken by German Chancellor Angela Merkel who wanted to protect herself politically on the local level by appearing to take a strict stance toward Greece. Eventually Greece signed the memorandum. Some still support the idea that Papandreou could have pressured the eurozone as it was not ready to protect its banks from a unilateral Greek default, though this theory underestimated the danger of a disaster. Experts in world affairs agree that some abrupt fiscal adjustment was unavoidable either through a softer program or by entering the program later on.

ekathimerini.com , Monday April 21, 2014 (16:39)  
Populism eating up education
A valued but mistreated professional
Through insecurity comes optimism
Futile policy
Strawberry farm shooting verdict draws ire
There was an outcry on Wednesday after the owner of a strawberry farm in the Peloponnese, where 28 migrant workers were shot last year, was cleared of any wrongdoing along with one of his fo...
Greece evacuates Tripoli embassy
Greece dispatched a navy frigate to Tripoli on Wednesday after the Foreign Ministry decided to evacuate all personnel from its embassy in the Libyan capital as fighting between rival militia...
Inside News
Govt reins in spending of regions
The government has called on regional authorities to reduce their operating expenses and the money they spend on overtime ahead of the drafting of the 2015 state budget, while adding that in...
Intralot to run one-horse race for betting permit
State privatization fund TAIPED is expected to launch another tender with just one bidder, as it has done on several occasions since it started operating, on Thursday. At stake is the operat...
Inside Business
SOCCER
Goalless draw at Liege puts Greens in driving seat
Panathinaikos got the upper hand in the battle for entry to the Champions League playoffs after snatching a goalless draw at Standard Liege on Wednesday. If anything, the Greek cup holders m...
SOCCER
Greek league recruits former referee Dallas
Former referee Hugh Dallas has been appointed as the head referee of the Greek Super League, the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) said in a statement on Wednesday. The 56-year-old Scot ear...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Goalless draw at Liege puts Greens in driving seat
2. Strawberry farm shooting verdict draws ire
3. Govt reins in spending of regions
4. Greece evacuates Tripoli embassy
5. Former municipal police officers put on the beat in city center
6. Intralot to run one-horse race for betting permit
more news
Today
This Week
1. Wine cup used by Pericles found in grave north of Athens
2. IMF's Lagarde not sure yet about debt relief for Greece
3. Six firms submit bids to lease Vouliagmeni beach
4. Coalition submits new proposals for Greek coastline
5. Police arrest one, seek another three over counterfeit goods
6. EU Commissioner Damanaki unlikely to return to Greek politics
Today
This Week
1. Quadriplegic woman on life support 'dies due to unpaid power bills'
2. Hedge fund Dromeus turns Greek tragedy to triumph with 160 pct gain
3. Front-line threats
4. Defense Minister Avramopoulos to represent Greece at European Commission
5. Greece names fifth privatization agency chief in four years
6. Greek coast guard picks up 77 migrants off Myconos
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.