OPINION

Convergence plan

The «charter» for Greece’s true convergence with the European Union, which the government is preparing as its way out of the quagmire in which it currently finds itself, has been proclaimed by senior government officials as an extremely ambitious political text: one that will set the targets and the ways to achieve them in all fundamental social and economic issues, even as early as 2008. They also say it will set intermediate, measurable goals so that gradual planning for action will be feasible, as will the means of evaluating policy. Unfortunately, however, the high-flown terms of the proclamations are not in themselves any guarantee of a serious approach. One only needs to remember the expectations cultivated regarding the breath of fresh air the recent government reshuffle was supposed to usher in. Given the fact that «real» convergence was the goal PASOK used as its campaign slogan for 2000, everything that was promised then should have been well under way by now. Instead, three years have been wasted, the Third Community Support Framework is being distributed without any strategic planning and the government is clearly showing the signs of decline. People have every right to fear that what is being presented as a comprehensive plan might just turn out to be empty campaign slogans. Faced with these fears, there is a hope that PASOK and the government will understand that slogans alone will not win popularity stakes. Despite the delays and inaction, there is a hope that the «charter» will turn out to be a serious program. After all, true convergence, a goal PASOK has ignored in its current term, is not merely a campaign issue but a major national need. Right after Greece was confirmed as a member of Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union, the government’s first task should have been to draw up a detailed plan for convergence, establish it as its main political goal and adopt the appropriate policies to promote it. The fact that this did not happen has not only brought things to a standstill, it has also led the government to take spasmodic action that might appear to further one goal but in fact damages others that are more important. One would hope, however, that even as an electoral gambit, PASOK will do what it should have been doing since 2000 to allow the country to move ahead and, by monitoring the totality of problems, overcome its mania for occasional «reforms» which every so often are simply reversed.