OPINION

Annoying hype

There is much talk in the runup to the elections about the state of the Greek economy, the burning social problems and, more recently, the so-called «Convergence Charter,» which is said to be targeted toward bringing us more in line with our European partners. It will be interesting to see how the government approaches the issue of convergence. The administration interprets the existing national and European statistics to suit its objectives, fabricating data according to its needs and setting «convergence» as a goal that can be met three or four years from now. The government oversimplifies the matter and anxiety about the elections grows as the Simitis administration has wasted an entire four-year term resting on the laurels of its 2000 election victory. Measures, packages, commitments, priorities, and promises – all these are used in a purported effort to ready the country for economic and social convergence. This will supposedly take place with the same bankrupt productive model: zero inflow of foreign investment and with growth that is virtually dependent on EU funds that will soon dry up. There is no concrete plan about how Greece is to survive in the new, highly competitive environment. The reformist government is quite verbose when it comes to projected growth rates but it has kept silent on how the country is to secure a safe place in the Europe-wide division of labor. The charter’s draftsmen have yet to explain how Greece will compete against its European peers. The public, of course, has not been bamboozled by Simitis’s pledges. Speaking at his party’s Central Committee meeting in the summer, the premier said that his top priority is victory in the coming elections – and he has worked consistently in that direction. But all this hype about the Convergence Charter can be quite annoying, especially at such a difficult time for most Greeks.