. ..The new ‘national’ deal, that is the mega-merger between National Bank of Greece and Alpha Bank, will only work if we agree to change the way in which we perceive the consequences, organizational requirements and the repercussions of such deals. The velvet period of our adaptation to the principles of competitiveness which came with the single currency has come to an end. There can be no mergers and increase in productivity without there being new investments, changes in personnel and, more generally, without greater mobility in the labor market and autonomous decision-making power for officials who carry out similar moves. Similar historic deals have not been decided only on the basis of purely economic criteria. Society will have to endorse and back this new change. But is it prepared to do so? The progress and completion of the original agreement sets the standard for the potential success of the changes heralded by new National Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis. Besides, the creation of a new National Bank will go hand in hand with the other major structural projects that Prime Minister Costas Simitis’s government aims to promote in the coming months. At the same time, dozens of problems plaguing hundreds of firms that anxiously watched the government’s sluggishness in making the requisite radical changes remain unresolved…

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