OPINION

The path to the euro

The launch of the euro currency, at least in its initial days, will almost certainly be accompanied with untoward incidents, administrative shortcomings, and an information – and preparation – deficit, with problems caused by last-minute omissions and, generally, by the burden of a transition to a new currency. Complex as the problems of replacing the drachma with the euro may be, they don’t undo the greatness and gravity of this historic change. After a decade-long effort and despite various failings along the way, our country has finally managed to fulfill its national goal. It overcame the economic and political obstacles and can now be satisfied over its taking part in Europe’s economic and monetary integration. Greece, once vulnerable to monetary and political crises, has now consolidated its sense of security. It has acquired a strong monetary basis, possesses one of the world’s strongest currencies, is not threatened by the turmoil that typically plagues the developing countries and its monetary stability no longer depends on particular domestic conditions. And this step is also of historic significance for Greece because it is entering a new category of countries. Greece is overcoming the volatile circle of developing states and is entering a powerful and safe European club, setting the foundations for a new course in a demanding but definitely more creative environment. And herein lies the element of challenge for Greece’s political and economic elite. Will the country successfully exploit the new environment? Will it be capable of overcoming the blockages of the past and opening itself up to the world, shaking off past fears and inhibitions? Will it manage to break the cycle of protectionism and the hitches of a closed economy? Will it promote healthy competition and encourage private initiative and creativity, or will it cling to old practices that undermine open economic activity? History teaches us that whenever Greece has opened itself up to the world, it has achieved great things. Whenever its forces, its youth, its entrepreneurs, its sailors have reached beyond Greece’s national boundaries, they made history and benefited our country. Current conditions favor another such international opening. It’s about time it happened. ILLEGAL NATURALIZATIONS