‘There’s a lot of money at stake’

We have always been well-disposed toward the government and taken its decisions seriously. We have hailed its accomplishments and backed policies we thought right. We were often at odds with public opinion in order to support views we deemed were in the public interest. We tried to emphasize problems or defend goals, such as joining the eurozone, structural changes, an EU-oriented foreign policy, the crackdown on terrorism, the reform of local administration and the health sector. This was never done uncritically but always within the context of civilized political dialogue. We never bent our principles. For example, we accepted the fulfillment of nominal convergence but stressed, after 1997, the need for extensive fiscal reform and drastic social security reform. We clashed on this; we revealed the ills of creative accounting; we turned our back on the stock market frenzy; we spoke against speculation; we stressed the need for real convergence and enhanced competitiveness; we criticized the emergence of the bubble economy when some made a fortune with other people’s savings. We often found ourselves at the heart of turmoil, and always for the sake of the national interest. Our stance helped shape sincere (we hope) relations with figures across the political spectrum. Our relations were based on true problem-solving and free of demands or expectations. The government, political staff, bankers and entrepreneurs all know this. In return, we are now called «conspirators» and «underminers.» This reaction reveals a deeply anti-democratic mentality. We were led to believe they shared our good intentions. These are the workings of power. As a character in a Greek film once said: «There’s a lot of money at stake, my boy.»