OPINION

Agreeing when it matters

Consensus is always welcome in a country where it is the habit of every opposition party to always say no to everything proposed by the government.

Prime Minister George Papandreou himself was known for almost never agreeing with anything the government had to say back when PASOK was in opposition. Yesterday, consensus was reached over Greece?s request for better terms on repaying its bailout loan, though the support of the opposition should have gone without saying. After all it wouldn?t have cost anyone any political points.

What is most important now, however, is for Papandreou to drum up some consensus within his own party, within the government and among the opposition over the tough reforms that are still necessary and that have either been shelved or bogged down. It is this kind of consensus that helped countries such as Spain and Portugal earn the confidence of the markets because it was seen as a sign of maturity and determination.

Consensus is needed when times get tough, not when it is the only and obvious way to go and carries no political cost.