The New Democracy-PASOK coalition government has allowed Alexis Tsipras’s SYRIZA party to emerge as the force that shapes domestic policy. Expressions of disobedience from within the coalition’s ranks toward the troika are becoming something of a daily occurrence, while calls for an end to international fiscal supervision are frequent and normally come from Deputy Prime Minister and PASOK chief Evangelos Venizelos.
The government orchestrated a meeting between its ministers and troika representatives in Paris – God knows how much this novel idea cost – in order to signal the first step of Greece’s independence from the “occupation” of the International Monetary Fund and our other lenders. But this is not what we should be worried about.
For four years and more, successive governments have fought for the “modernization” of the Greek economy and have been truly ruthless in their efforts, yet they left the real issues unaddressed despite the constant warnings and requests of European leaders. The only credibility Greece has been able to be regain has been thanks to the enormous sacrifices made by its people – by the complete destruction of the middle class.
What is going on in government is nothing short of shadow theater, abhorrent as much to Greeks as to European governments, which are beginning to reconcile themselves with the possibility of a SYRIZA government at the country’s helm.
During the last Eurogroup meeting, one eurozone official spoke about the possibility of a third loan agreement. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras refuted the report the following day, announcing that Greece would soon be free of memorandums and the need for more loans. How soon?
The interesting thing is that while the coalition government revolts against the lenders, Tsipras appears to be systematically entering a phase of mutation after assuring us recently that his rise to power would not threaten the stability of the eurozone. This writer does not claim to be an expert on economics, but even the most fervent supporters of the reformist program know that it was never applied with any seriousness or consistency.
On the one hand, the effort to save and strengthen particular circles has condemned Greece to a slow death. On the other, the rise of SYRIZA to government could result in sudden death.
Caught between these two options, it is no wonder Greeks have sunk into a deep depression.