There are many top-ranking European officials who are befuddled by Greece but are nonetheless willing to be patient to see where it is all going. Others have simply given up. Then there are those who are skeptical about Greece, such as German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, and who wonder whether the country has any place in the eurozone. This latter are waiting for Greece to fail and have given the country until the end of the year, when it will become clear whether the next assessment of the country’s progress can be completed and whether there appears to be some chance of political stability. Until then, the road will be anything but smooth for whoever is elected on Sunday.
The first thing Greek politicians need to do is forget about playing games or taking unnecessary risks. We have neither the time nor the luxury to allow anyone to lead the country to elections again and another period of non-governance.
One of the biggest dangers lies in those in the Greek political establishment who are so fervently opposed to using non-politicians in key posts. They have convinced some voters that our lenders and various vested interests want such people in the government to serve their whims. But experience has taught us that this opposition usually comes from small-time political lackeys who are insecure about their own ability to compete with anyone capable.
This has become more than apparent with the caretaker government. Seven months of inertia, endless in-party discussions and a complete absence of managerial skills left unresolved issues on every front and all it took was a few capable people a few weeks to wrap them up. A good government makes room for everyone who is decent and hardworking, irrespective of their political background. What’s astonishing is that the strongest opposition against good people in any party comes from within the party itself. They are despised because they won’t grant political favors or because the useless politicians among them feel even more inadequate in their presence.
If we don’t overcome such complexes soon we risk disaster. Major challenges lie ahead, from the refugee crisis and the recapitalization of the country’s banks to the next review from our lenders, and Greece does have good people who can get the job done. We are not backward or lazy by nature, as some like to think. In the state, for example, there are plenty of good, hardworking (and underpaid) people who have carried the country through the crisis. Give a Greek a goal, rules and a vision and he can work miracles. The good thing is that we are already on a well-defined path. The bad thing is that the person steering was completely inexperienced and had a chaotic team behind him.
Nevertheless, we have stayed on that path and not fallen off the cliff. The biggest challenge is to refute those who are expecting us to veer clear off it.