OPINION

Same old new government

same-old-new-government

Everything points to the fact that the second coalition government formed by SYRIZA and Independent Greeks has learned nothing from its first time round, when it led the country for eight months with well-known, terrible results.

Today’s officials have clearly received orders to pretend this eight-month period never happened. This is why we still hear ministers and alternate ministers saying that this is a new administration which has not yet had time to present anything substantial in terms of policy or that everything that transpired between January and September is a thing of the past.

In other words, they are either trying to erase the first eight months of this glorious year completely or at least put some distance between them and that period. All along they have also tried to persuade everyone else that they haven’t changed a bit, they remain leftists.

Unfortunately, it appears that they indeed haven’t changed, even thought they signed the third bailout. As Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his aides hasten to express their intention to honor the country’s pledges (they choose this particular phrasing so that their own promises can be forgotten), they also do everything in their power to delay implementation by resorting to their usual tricks: looking for alternate measures, insisting on the importance of political dialog and developing a kind of bartering strategy between the country’s obligations and the refugee crisis – all of which constitute their customary method for escaping reality.

The government’s continuous recklessness is largely due to the abject ineptitude that defines how it works on a day-to-day basis and the ideological obsessions of many of its officials. It is also due to the prime minister’s belief, and that of his close aides, that they have no rivals, that there is no one else for Greeks to vote for right now – and that the creditors are well aware of it.

It’s also true that the creditors, for the time being, accept the fact that there is no other visible solution on the horizon. They see the inefficiency but are putting on a brave face, judging from the recent visits to Greece of French President Francois Hollande, EU Commissioner Pierre Moscovici and European Parliament chief Martin Schulz. This was also reflected in Monday’s Eurogroup statement, which was less harsh and more flexible than expected, though aimed at the salvation of Greek banks. This attitude, however, will not last forever, especially given the political landscape shaped by the refugee issue.

The "tough guys" are waiting to take over, even from Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany, and if and when that happens, they will show no mercy.