OPINION

Delving under the surface

Campaign tours, smiles, hugs big and small, pleasant words, slogans and promises, television windows and TV journalists who provoke public opinion by appearing as party cadres, politicians who exhaust themselves in details: All these images paint the pre-election campaign picture – one that has been tailored to the needs of modern communication tactics that never delve beneath the surface. Despite its many weaknesses, Greece has in recent years managed to join one of the globe’s wealthiest transnational blocs. As a result it enjoys a strong currency, has eliminated monetary uncertainty, and faces no major outside threat. Yet, it is still beset by numerous shortcomings that prevent it from consolidating all these achievements. Greece must introduce major structural changes and reforms. It must change its production model, restore equality before the law, shake off corruption, and change the structure of the State, the economy and education. Otherwise, it runs the risk of turning into a poor province on the European periphery. In other words, Greece needs a long-term reform plan that will liberalize the economy, increase the efficiency of the State, ensure fiscal stability, bring the education system more into line with the labor market, create incentives for business and investment and, in general, create more fertile ground for economic growth and overall progress. Political dialogue must focus on policies to coordinate the needs of the fiscal economy, taxation, competitiveness, productivity, social security, employment, education, health and the environment. This cannot be done with fireworks, like George Papandreou’s in Lavrion, or proposals to abolish national examinations for university entry – measures that will only endanger the gains of eurozone membership.