Friday’s images of bulldozers tearing down buildings at the old airport of Elliniko in southern Athens are being celebrated as a major milestone for Greece. The start of work at what is one of the country’s biggest privatization projects is indeed a milestone; but it is no reason to celebrate.
Instead, it should serve as an opportunity to ponder why such a valuable piece of real estate was allowed to fester for nearly two decades. What bureaucratic snarls and, most importantly, what conservative or skeptical political reflexes stood in the way of an investment that could have already generated thousands of jobs?
The Elliniko project signals a succession of mistakes that we should be learning from.