‘Real convergence’

This matter of «real convergence» is very bizarre. For years, the government didn’t want to hear about it, and when it did, it would retort: «If the figures show that we have convergence, then we have convergence» – despite the fact that reality was screaming something completely different. And now, suddenly, just eight months before PASOK’s eight-year reformist stint comes to an end, «real convergence» is pulled out of the cupboard, dusted off and presented as our new national goal. Fair enough. But if this goal is so easy to achieve, why has it eluded us for so many years? And what is «real convergence» anyway? A lot more than is suggested in the Brussels-funded state advertising campaigns depicting a «different Greece,» that’s for sure. It should mean that were you to start a business, apply for a driver’s license or undergo an operation, you would not be obliged to enter a vicious cycle of corruption and illegal transactions to be sure of the best outcome. It means that when you need to call the police or an ambulance, they will come – promptly. But, above all, it means something that we never talk about: that there wouldn’t be the mass deaths we see on our roads and believe we can do nothing about. It may seem incongruous to link convergence with traffic accidents but this should be our primary concern. How can it be that so many people die on our roads each year and the government doesn’t react? This would be inconceivable in any other Western country.

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