Greece will become a normal country when it becomes a boring country. That is, when we stop talking the day after the elections about when new elections will take place, when no politician will speak (or rather shout) as if we were living in the 1960s, when the big parties will be able to agree on obvious things. We are, obviously, far from this goal.
One shudders when one hears the kind of talk that mimics slogans heard in the Greek Parliament in the 1960s. You only need to know a little history to understand how dangerous this path is. This is not constructive opposition and has nothing to do with Greece in 2022. A new “Relentless Struggle,” like that declared by Georgios Papandreou in 1961, will be a caricature, a bad skit that returns again after 60 years. It’s the last thing we need and this is definitely not the opposition the country needs. It may help fanaticize the supporters but it leaves society coldly indifferent.
Everything indicates that we will continue in an extremely toxic and polarized scenario until the next elections, whenever they take place. The government must avoid being pulled in the same downward direction. It has to be institutionally impeccable, to avoid thin ice, and it mustn’t open new fronts where they are not needed. It is not easy because two and a half exhausting years have passed and this often leads to a “bunker” mentality. But the public, too, is tired and angry.
The good thing is that through all the crises and trials, those Greeks who are fighting find their own way to success – often without, or rather despite, the involvement of governments and politicians. Despite the crisis, Greece has seen the rise of people like Haris Karonis, founder and chief executive of Viva Wallet, who take risks and are createing a startup culture in the country, making it fashionable for the next generation.
The normalcy and effort of the current government helped big multinationals come here and invest. The hesitation of previous years came from the instability and the certainty that nothing is stable in Greece – neither the laws, nor the tax regime, the spatial planning, nothing. Of course, we are not yet a normal European country because our local “habits” mean that the judicial system and the public administration set us apart from the other countries.
The point, though, is not to move backward. It would be easy to have mayhem in the streets of Athens or in Parliament and to enter a period of paralytic instability. Our bad oldself is always waiting for us in the corner. There are strong and deep currents that will push us there.
All this, of course, can happen in the best of “families,” as we see abroad. We could surrender to these forces and see where it takes us. After all, we know how to do it, it fits our Mediterranean psychology. But we would not be able to handle it because the challenges and threats we face are not funny at all.