Building a fresh narrative


Regardless of the deal reached at the meeting of eurozone finance ministers late Thursday in Luxembourg, the outcome will have almost zero impact on the Greek economy or people’s everyday lives here.

Unless authorities take meaningful steps that actually deal with chronic problems such as red tape, corruption, vested interests and the dysfunctional public administration, the country will never be able to get back on its feet and achieve a sense of normalcy.

Those who are now taking decisions about Greece’s future are well aware of the above fact. Some officials are quite frank about it, while others admit it indirectly (like Deputy Economy Minister Stergios Pitsiorlas in his recent article that was published in Ta Nea daily), and others still chose to turn a blind eye.

That said, the Greek government’s maneuvers over the past few weeks (and particularly those of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras), the silly antics, the overdramatization about the possible outcomes, the warnings against the country’s foreign lenders (particularly the Germans), and the mood swings in Athens were all designed to, first, win the support of SYRIZA officials and deputies and, second, to create an impression among the domestic audience.

To be sure, the SYRIZA-Independent Greeks coalition is not the first administration to consider domestic concerns in hammering out decisions concerning the economy and foreign policy. The problem here is that this government appears to be exclusively guided by partisan expediency while being totally indifferent to the national interest.

Tsipras has once again acted like he did in the summer of 2015 when the disastrous results of his strategy did not seem to weaken his position in the subsequent bailout referendum or the snap election. In fact, SYRIZA was able to renew its mandate.

It is evident that Tsipras thinks he can replay the script. He seems to believe that the tough-guy posturing, the contradictory statements and the attacks on German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble are reverberating with a large chunk of the Greek public who like to interpret genuine defeat as a victory for the resistance.

The Greek premier thinks that he can construct a fresh narrative that will help him overcome – even for a short period of time – the obstacles that he himself created with his mistakes and “delusions.” If Schaeuble is telling the truth, the Greek premier even asked for a three-week deadline to construct the new narrative.