OPINION

Editorial

International economic developments are a cause for serious concern as the world’s biggest economies face the specter of recession. The world’s GDP has remained stagnant during the second quarter of 2001, while in many cases it has actually decreased. Industrial production has fallen, many countries are facing a precipitous decline in exports, many of the firms of the New Economy have collapsed while there are anxious attempts to reverse the downturn in the world’s major stock markets. The profits of European stock markets during the last three years have evaporated. EU prospects are dim as economists cut their forecasts for a rise in the GDP during 2001. Original predictions for a 3.5-percent increase have been cut down to 2 percent while the recent comments by Pedro Solves Mira, EU commissioner on economic and monetary affairs, reveal that he can no longer guarantee the fulfillment of this modest target. Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of commentators agree that the state of European economies will deteriorate in the beginning of 2002. This unfavorable climate has raised concern throughout the entire world. The Greek political elite, however, prefers to be dealing with the transmission of a magistrate’s report on the Athens Stock Exchange to Parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis concerning an investigation into share purchases by state portfolio management company DEKA, rather than seek ways to minimize the consequences on the Greek economy from a potential recession. Even worse, the government depicts a picture of a totally ungrounded optimism about Greek economic prospects. It would be very alarming if the government’s stance were a product of its ignorance over the lurking dangers and not an attempt to conceal the true picture for reasons of propaganda. The government must become more serious. For more than five years, it has presented its economic polities as the unavoidable product of economic interdependence in a globalized world. Now, suddenly, it claims that the Greek economy is immune to all outside influences and it can continue to grow at a 5-6-percent rate even when the USA, Japan and the EU are on the verge of recession. Government reassurances cause concern rather than relaxation; the public prefers government mobilization to unfounded optimism.