This fall will not be at all easy. The conservative government will have to take a deep breath before it deals with what will probably look like a storm.
As far as the real economy is concerned, things will be tough. This is not the fault of the government. The coronavirus outbreak has pushed many countries into recession. The lack of liquidity will be heavily felt in the months to come. Regardless of what statistics say, money – which has not always been “white” and which has tended to accumulate over the summer season thanks to tourism-related activities – will be in short supply.
In practice, this means that many Greeks will find it hard to make ends meet. Some restaurants and other businesses will have to close down. And it will be some time before the money from the European Union’s coronavirus recovery package is doled out.
Meanwhile, we are far from done with the coronavirus. The epidemic poses a serious risk to Greece. The endless pressure is evidently taking a hefty mental toll on our fellow citizens. A second full lockdown is out of the question because it would leave the Greek economy in tatters. That said, it will be extremely difficult to strike the right balance amid the conundrum. And if Covid-19 figures get out of control, the public health system will come under very serious strain.
And then of course there is the tension in Greece’s relations with Turkey. The risk here may be external, but it does have an impact at home. The crisis surrounding Turkey’s energy exploration will either lead to a drawn-out period of tension (a serious incident can never be ruled out) or to the negotiating table. A prolonged crisis could have serious economic implications. On the other hand, entering a dialogue with Ankara carries domestic political risks because there are many different and strong-held views among the Greek center-right about if, how and when it would be best to deal with the Turkish side.
Sure, there are solutions to all these problems. But applying them will not be easy; it will require restraint and determination. The economic nosedive will seem endless but European funds will be waiting in the end. The coronavirus leaves no room for relaxation. And as far as Greek-Turkish relations are concerned, we have shown in the past that we are ready to talk without pressure and deadlines set by force.