OPINION

Looking outward

We have finally muddled through, huffing and puffing and at great cost, and have now emerged from the tunnel ready to undertake the great responsibility of hosting the Olympics. Some unresolved issues remain, as there is little time left to test the coordination of the numerous events to be staged simultaneously during the Games, meaning that we will have to do with some uncertainty and risk of incidents. Attica has already been hit recently by a power blackout and a telephone cut (albeit on a smaller scale), while the newly inaugurated public transport network is still plagued by teething problems. It will take a huge effort in the coming days to cover any remaining gaps and cater for unexpected complications as Greece is catapulted to the center of global attention. Naturally, it is crucial that we avoid any major blunder or disaster. We also need to ensure that the effort and sacrifice of the people who have battled the monster of disorganization and completed the projects under such a tight time frame finally pay off. The city and its inhabitants will benefit greatly from the experience. Most of the work has already been done. Now the country must meet the challenge, to show it can shoulder a burden of this magnitude and project an image of potency and progress to the outside world, and come across as the leading country in the broader Balkan peninsula. In facing this challenge, we have a unique opportunity to grab international attention, to expand our contacts with the rest of the world, and to transcend our national limitations. This could be the beginning of a big leap outward, the inspiration for new national goals, aiming at a country that will produce more goods for export and attract tourists, capital and investments from outside. Only such a goal can help address our structural deficits and guarantee our economic future.