Poor administration

The effective annulment of the European Union’s Stability Pact – that is, of the strict regulations ensuring that state deficits do not surpass a certain limit – is not at all good news for the Union’s smaller countries. Nor is it any good for Greece. The move to spare France and Germany the ignominy of being punished for excessive deficits was a political decision directly serving the interests of the Union’s two largest countries. It also shows, at a time when the draft for an ostensibly democratic European Constitution is being debated, to what an extent the interests of the largest EU states guide the Union. So what conclusions can we, as a small, mismanaged member state, draw from this? We know that Greece managed to reduce its state deficit in its attempt to meet the conditions of the Maastricht Treaty and be accepted into the eurozone. We also know that, since then, our management of public finances has slackened. As a result, the state deficit has widened, public debt has not been restricted and – worst of all – hidden deficits have been piling up menacingly. The government stresses that a high rate of growth is an effective shield against these problems and insists that the country’s public finances are under control – but it does so with little conviction. It also avoids referring to the savings it has made thanks to an influx of EU funds for certain crucial projects. But the only way we can achieve true convergence is if these funds are properly used to foster long-term development.