OPINION

Cutting ties with unions

For Greece to ever hope that it can start emerging from the financial crisis, the first thing that the government needs to do is drastically curb state spending and abolish the privileges that have been enjoyed for decades by labor unions and other lobbies that have become accustomed to living off state funds.

For this to happen, however, the prime minister in particular and the government in general need to sever the ties that bind them to the union movements that have become entrenched within the state apparatus.

Both George Papandreou and his PASOK party are indebted to the powerful unions behind state-owned companies, which apart from supporting the party for decades also supported the premier at a very crucial time in his career. But if Papandreou does not cut the umbilical cord that ties him and PASOK to them, there will be no way to slash the deficit and reduce Greece?s debt.

Does the prime minister have what it takes to do it?