To sit on one’s laurels

It has been stressed many times, by commentators of different political persuasions, that Costas Simitis and his reformist PASOK team do not have a political justification for their election victory of April 2000. And today, more than ever before, the country’s political leadership appears to be having difficulty in grasping what has happened to it and unable to exercise an organized governmental policy with specific goals and results. With Greece’s accession into the eurozone – an event of major national significance – Simitis’s PASOK party triumphed at general elections in 2000 for the second time in a row… and then sat back and relaxed. Subsequent developments showed that governing «reformists» regarded that victory as a deserved reward for their progress toward joining the eurozone, and not chiefly as an order for them to exercise a policy embracing certain key demands over the next four years. The fact that entry into the eurozone carried significant social costs and that participation demanded a dynamic policy aiming at swift economic and administrative reform did not prove daunting to these «reformists» when they formed their first post-election government. Happy with their second victory, they contented themselves with a standard method of running the government, without the boldness and courage to make constructive breaks – which were actually necessary at the time, leaving ample ground for corruption to thrive.

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