OPINION

Pharaonic logic

The latest European Commission report on the use of development funds by member countries was, perhaps, the most serious challenge to Greece’s policies so far. The realization that funds from the Second and Third Community Support Frameworks (CSFs) have done little to boost the country’s development was a backlash on the government and proof of the erroneous policy of our political elite who have put all the money into infrastructure projects, showing their lack of imagination and planning. No one questions the need to upgrade Greece’s infrastructure, but this one-dimensional approach has been provocative, while also embodying all the problematic aspects of Greek policymaking – namely, the bonds that have developed over the years between the government and the construction companies. A comparison between the reports on Greece and Ireland is devastating. Greece chose to invest three-quarters of the funds in high-cost infrastructure projects of questionable economic and social benefit. In light of the organization of the 2004 Olympics, the whole situation seems uncomfortably Pharaonic. All money was spent on technical projects, while all other aspects of development were snubbed. Ireland on the other hand, invested all of its funds in knowledge and education. The result was far more impressive that the Greek one. This is illustrated by its position in the EU’s progress report. Ireland’s convergence took place in record time, while Greece will have to wait at least another 15 years. Over the last 20 years, Greece has received more than 80 billion euros from the EU without shaking off its opportunism and shortsightedness. Greece has not managed to overcome its «take care of now» logic, becoming more like the households that spend without looking toward the future and which are in need at the first setback.