Running on autopilot

Most European countries are led by conservative governments. And this is the main reason that Prime Minister Costas Simitis’s discreet attempts to attain a top EU post are unlikely to be successful. However, irrespective of the labels of different political parties, the general trend in Europe is one of conservatism – especially in economic matters. But what exactly do we mean when we speak of conservative policy? Not what we generally understand as conservatism in our country. Perhaps this is because it has been so long since a right-wing government has been in power. Even during the period from 1990 to 1993, Mitsotakis’s government did not have a crisis but a time bomb on its hands and so it cannot be regarded as a good example of a European conservative government. In any case, Simitis’s government went on to follow a well-tempered conservative policy. And it couldn’t really have done any differently. The abolishment of the devalued drachma and demands for a reduction in state deficits and inflation have put us on autopilot in following the laws of the eurozone. But though all this has influenced economic policy, in all other areas the government continued to act without considering the repercussions of its decisions. When for so many years a government avoids rationally restructuring the national pay structure using rules of performance and specialization, it will inevitably be faced with the wave of strike action we are now seeing.