Maybe Greece will not experience a credit event, “because it is in no one’s interest,” as Minister of State for Coordinating Government Operations Alekos Flambouraris recently assured. Maybe the International Monetary Fund will give Greece an extension when it fails to come up with the 1.4 billion euros it owes the IMF by the end of March.
One thing is sure: This is not a time of certainties. Every minute that goes by Greece finds itself in a new predicament, either because of pressure from abroad or from inside the country.
The SYRIZA government appears to be ignoring the danger of “an accident.” Or worse, it is pretending to ignore it because its priorities and promises dictate a different agenda. What kind of agenda? One that’s unionist to its core. The government is seeking to appease the country’s unions, whether it is with announcements regarding taxation (VAT will be increased only on products of minor importance – which remain to be seen – said Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis), or education (Alternate Minister Tassos Kourakis heralded the abolition of the Supreme Council of Personnel Selection, saying it would be replaced by a different hiring system), or even public television (raising the TV license levy in order to reopen defunct state broadcaster ERT, as Minister of State Nikos Pappas said).
These are just examples, but each one challenges how the state operates and shows how the governing party views the relationship between the state and society. Every day that goes by shows us that SYRIZA was not ready to govern – at least not a country that is bankrupt, in negotiations with its creditors and has a mountain of domestic problems to deal with as well (unfulfilled reforms, a political system that is not only incapable of solving problems but can’t even see them, political parties whose only concern is their own survival and propagation and unions that champion closed-shops professions and an insular society).
Faced with these challenges, SYRIZA has gone back to the past, acting like a union rather than a government. And this is neither creative nor ambiguous. It’s suicide.