Black comedy

The prime minister said earlier this week that his sole concern was Greece’s presidency of the European Union, adding that bringing up any other issue was only an attempt to change the political agenda and consequently to injure the national interest. Hence, according to Costas Simitis, the deluge of corruption allegations is nothing but «scandalmongering» and «petty politics.» The EU presidency comes first, and we shall see what comes next after that. In a halfhearted attempt to back the position of their political supremo, various Socialist cadres have said that the burgeoning allegations concerning the stock market activity of government officials deflects the public focus from the so-called «big issues.» But no one seems to take note of the fact that the government is having trouble dealing with the numerous problems that beset these «big issues.» Simitis takes pleasure from being at the helm of the EU presidency and is trying to extract the maximum gains from advertising Athens’s Olympic sites. The government is at pains to disguise the fact that the fiscal deficit is growing, that the products of the new economy are sweeping the Greek market, that the State’s monitoring mechanisms are not capable of keeping an eye on entrepreneurial activity, and that the absorption of the EU’s structural funds for 2003 is down to a mere 9 percent in the first quarter. The government wants to hear nothing about political and business entanglement. Any reference to unwarranted economic ties is scorned as «scandalmongering.» Hence, according to the premier’s aides, there is no political issue left to talk about unless one wants to praise the government for its ill-promoted work or its spectacular achievements in the international arena. But we should not get frustrated. The prime minister is planning to deal with domestic issues as of July.