A discussion which ought to concern us considerably began a few weeks ago. I hear people close to the coalition government, people who listen to what goes on with regard to its inner workings, saying, “In the end the Europeans don’t want us in the eurozone, so we should see what we can do.” At the same time, I hear staunch supporters of the country being a part of the single currency bloc saying: “Perhaps we aren’t meant to be part of the eurozone. Perhaps we aimed much higher than we were able to handle as a society.”
This is where things stand on the local front, for on the international level the discussion is reaching a peak both behind closed doors as well as in public. A large-scale dispute is going on with regard to whether Greece belongs in the eurozone and to what extent the country has the appropriate political staff as well as public and private sector in order to participate in such a private club.
You realize, of course, how negative this combination could turn out to be. The country’s leaders feel that they can’t do what it takes for the country to remain in the eurozone. More solid pro-Europeans are starting to lose faith with regard to the country’s ability to maintain its rights, even at this point, following five years of deep recession. Meanwhile, decision makers abroad are reaching their own limits.
For the time being everyone is hoping for some kind of divine intervention. The Greek government believes that eurozone leaders will give in at the final hour and a collision will be avoided. Pro-Europeans think that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will eventually make an about-face, as they powerlessly watch the frantic moves of an inexperienced administration. Those on the outside are waiting to see to what extent we can operate as a sensible country.
I don’t know how this thriller we’re currently experiencing will end. I can imagine a few cynics, people who invariably move behind the scenes, feeling satisfaction as they observe the country being led to some kind of disaster and possibly to the drachma. I can picture them declaring that “the only solution is the drachma” before turning round and whispering, “We’re going to get it all for free, my friend.” They are the only ones who would emerge satisfied and as winners in this case.
It’s time for everyone to get serious. This country can remain a member of one of the world’s most privileged clubs as long as it has the necessary leadership and lets go of its self-destructive syndrome of endless introversion and persecution. It would be suicidal to reach the pivotal moment and not make it to the other side after these five years. In the words of a senior diplomat: “Do you know what the difference between Greece and the other Balkan countries is? Everyone flirts with disaster, but we Greeks always take a step back at the last minute.” I hope we prove him right.