OPINION

Acting at the eleventh hour

No nation or people can survive without hope that tomorrow will be a better day. Right now, Greeks feel frustrated and see no light at the end of the tunnel. Change can only come from two directions.

First, from our European partners and foreign lenders. They may be right that Greek politicians are unreliable and incapable of implementing much-needed economic and structural reforms.

But that does not mean the international creditors can keep moving the goalposts. They ought to acknowledge the sacrifices made by the vast majority of the Greek people, who believe in European unity, who respect the law, and who pay their taxes.

There?s a great number of creative forces out there who are fighting against populism, reactionary groupings and vested interests. When Greece?s partners make unreasonable demands, they are actually succeeding in feeding the populism here. Greeks often react sentimentally without paying heed to the risks at stake. If they want Greece to change, they must be more patient. Endless terms and demands will only bring the debt-wracked nation closer to a disorderly default.

Before any of that, of course, our political leaders must do all they can to deprive Greece-bashers — who want to see the country out of the eurozone — of any arguments.

However, despite the seriousness of the situation, Greek politicians are only doing their duty half-heartedly, uttering poor excuses aimed at their grassroots supporters. But there?s no room for mistakes. Foreign officials have detailed information about what is said and written here. It has become clear over the past few days that we have reached a point where any stupid delays come at a hefty price. There will be no more breaking up talks with the troika representatives, proposing referendums or refusing to sign documents.

We only have a few weeks left to fulfill a number of obligations and avoid default. Greece now needs the equivalent of a war council that will make decisions, issue orders and consult with experienced technocrats.

Athens is wasting time that it does not have. The state apparatus is dragging its feet in light of the coming elections and because the morale of civil servants has been seriously damaged.

But we cannot once again get away with failing to fulfill our obligations. Unless our politicians can convince us and our partners that they can pull this off, we shall be in for another national defeat. And the consequences will be far more than merely financial.