Charter for change?

The government appears ready to use all means at its disposal during the pre-election period, heralded by Prime Minister Costas Simitis at the last session of his party’s central committee, and is handing out a whole range of benefits, appointments and measures to protect citizens from widespread profiteering, as well as intensifying government propaganda. And to cap it all is the imminent Convergence Charter. Of course, the major problems our country is currently facing cannot be solved using a charter which Simitis is preparing under pre-election pressure. Greece does not primarily need a series of «measures» and «commitments.» Indeed, the main problems faced by this country have come about because, during its 20-year membership of the European Union, PASOK never took the trouble to draw up a long-term program for economic and social development. And it cannot now quickly flesh out a credible program to change the unfavorable climate in which it has to operate in the runup to the elections. Since Greece joined the EU in 1981, there has been debate about a major national shake-up, since 1996 a so-called reformist movement has dominated the political scene, and Greece has assumed more responsibilities since entering the eurozone in 2000. But during all this time, there has never been any serious debate about the need for a program for long-term efficiency… And the charter anxiously being prepared by the prime minister is unlikely to change very much.