OPINION

Focus on economy

The rapid entry of American troops into Baghdad and the collapse of the Iraqi regime (without all resistance having been annihilated), have made an extended conflict less likely and eased the concerns for the economies of all nations, particularly the most vulnerable, such as in Greece. The apparently speedy termination of the war has not, however, canceled out the other, postwar causes of political and economic uncertainty, since it is not clear what kind of regime will succeed that of Saddam Hussein and how far it, along with the American authorities, will succeed in restoring normality to a land destroyed by bombing and with its economic and social life in tatters. Nor is it clear what policy the US will follow regarding the role of the UN and the major powers with which it had disagreed over the Iraq war, nor how it will support its exhortations to reduce tension in the Middle East, rather than increase it. Even Turkey’s concerns over developments in northern Iraq and Washington’s stance regarding the Kurds are still not clear and could lead to further uncertainty. Under these circumstances, and given the worrying indications that the Greek economy was slowing down even before the war, the speedy end to the hostilities does not mean there is no need to redraft economic policy in order to protect the economy from the risk of recessionary pressure. It is common knowledge that the government has been avoiding confronting this possibility and has abided by the «best-case scenario,» considering possible emergency measures for extreme circumstances. Yet when one talks about protecting the economy, no one means measures always taken during times of major crisis (such as fuel restrictions), but a systematic effort to deal with indications of a slowdown, about which nothing appears to have been done over the past few months. According to data known to the government, the Third Community Support Framework remains inaccessible and unknown to the overwhelming majority of the self-employed and to farmers, instead of providing a springboard for productivity and economic power. Preparations for the Olympics and an election campaign exert political pressure that does not favor major reconsideration, yet the government should focus on the economy once again, as economic robustness is a prerequisite for facing the challenges of political stability in the Middle East.