For a new economy
It was inevitable that the Cyprus issue and Olympic Games’ preparations would monopolize the government in its first steps and deflect its immediate attention from other issues, including the economy. To be sure, economic policy change is rarely immediate. The government shift on fiscal finances is, no doubt, a positive development, but it must also translate into more specific measures. At the same time, other goals, such as long-term growth, must be served. In its election campaign, New Democracy promised transparency and accuracy in public finances, a higher growth rate and a healthier and more competitive economic environment that would be stripped of the distortions caused by conflicting interests. Those promises sounded very nice back then. They provided a strong argument for a leadership switch and cultivated high expectations among the electorate. In real life, however, there is the need for quick mobilization and painstaking effort. Although any critique of the conservative administration would be premature, the government seems to be losing precious time. It must soon map out an action plan aimed at economic reform and a higher growth rate. Entrepreneurs may allow a grace period, but they deem that the acknowledgment of the large public deficit and the requisite measures toward containing expenditures will tie up resources from consumption in the public sector; the construction sector will slow down after the Games; the financial sector must move into new areas of activity, while the economy must find new arenas of regional development as well as create new poles of production. All the above require imagination, daring initiatives, new policies and inspired people who are dedicated to a benign goal, devoid of ulterior motives. The government must move swiftly and with a plan. For – at least when it comes to the economy – time is money.