Edging along the cliffside

Let?s face it. There is no magic way out of the crisis. The euro path will be long and winding. We will have to keep treading carefully along the cliffside and sometimes we will have to move backward in order to move forward. The risk of an accident will always be there.

That was the message in the words of visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday. There are no magic solutions — and this is becoming clear even to the most desperate among us.

Everyone can see that Greece is not the only country facing a major crisis. It is not the only country that needs to make drastic cuts to its welfare state or bring down its living standards.

Sure, Europe could even take the path of socialist transformation. But this too is long and far from certain. In fact, it looks more like a life-after-death promise.

Neither can one bet on the instant solution of a euro exit, an idea that some people have started to promote, although not always in the open.

To be sure, the path of the euro entails sacrifices. But someone must find the courage and the will to explain to the people what those structural changes are all about and how they will benefit them. Someone must finally free the Greeks? creative spirit without giving Merkel the credit for this, as it were.

This effort must be accompanied by steps to accelerate the fight against corruption. A great deal has already been done in that direction, but a lot more still needs to be done. It is unbelievable that many of the biggest corruption scandals remain untackled. And, of course, there is the need for full transparency and distance from vested interests in the process of privatizations.

All that is not for Berlin or the IMF to do. Samaras has over the past few months shown that he is willing to take risks and go the extra mile, as he did by inviting Merkel to Athens.

Our partners are showing understanding and patience. The people are certainly not enthusiastic about all this, but the majority are showing patience and endurance, fighting the battle of survival.

As we make our way along the cliff face, it?s good to know we have a hand to hold on to — even if it is a rather reluctant one — so that we don?t fall. Our peers are certainly doing this out of fear of going down with us, but at least they are giving us some more time and room to breathe.

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