OPINION

Beyond Cyprus…

The Cyprus issue has dominated the news agenda over the last month. This is understandable, as the matter is at a critical phase following the submission of the UN secretary-general’s proposal for a solution. Even so, given the current state of affairs in our country we cannot concentrate on a single issue, however significant it may be. Just a few days ago, the northern town of Naoussa ground to a halt for three hours as workers and businessmen abandoned their duties to stage a joint protest over the high rate of unemployment across the region due to deindustrialization, which has halved the number of jobs. Meanwhile, farmers are back on the roads again because no one dares to tell them the truth about their future – which appears far from rosy. Even banks and big businesses are trying to deal with the crisis, which has arisen due to significantly lower revenues since the euro was introduced and in the context of a negative international climate – especially in Europe, where growth rates are hovering around zero. It was within this climate that the 2003 budget was unveiled earlier this week – a budget weighed down by revised national debt figures as well as the high debts of public utilities and enterprises. Under such circumstances it is difficult for Greece to attain its goal of increased productivity. And focusing exclusively on domestic concerns probably has a disorientating influence on society and does little to help progress.