OPINION

Change, at the roots

The crash of the Chinook army helicopter off the coast of the Mount Athos peninsula in which 17 people were killed – including the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria, Petros – and the controversy surrounding the government’s delay in launching a rescue operation will influence developments in the country’s political scene. Greece was shaken, the government was caught off guard and its image was – to a greater or smaller degree – tarnished by the political details that came to light after the accident. The tragic incident must be investigated in depth – and not just for political reasons. The government must shed light on the causes of the helicopter crash and ascertain the facts that followed. It must avoid scapegoating and instead seek to repair the dysfunctional institutions. The conservative administration must take all the requisite measures without resorting to slogans, partisan politics and sensationalist television appearances. And one more thing: The government must make sure that this campaign does not drain attention from the country’s other serious problems which demand painstaking and imaginative effort. The helicopter incident should not make us blind to the fact that a number of outstanding issues cannot wait until the government has finished its investigation into the accident. The release of the state budget in a few days will signal how the government plans to go about tackling the fiscal crisis and the manner in which the financial burden will be spread out among the different sections of society. The market, which is under serious strain after the end of Olympics preparations, awaits the publication of the budget in order to weigh incentives and constraints. Workers are also anxious to see the budget and are likely to press with their own demands – many appear ready to assert them in a combative manner. Everyone – workers and employers, professionals and entrepreneurs – is anticipating how the government will exploit the legacy of the Olympic Games for the sake of boosting growth. Besides serious economic planning, the country also needs to streamline the state apparatus, whose distortions and shortcomings were made painfully evident with the Chinook tragedy. In order to meet these challenges, the government must exhaust its resourcefulness and efficiency. The government must deal with the root causes of the accident so that such a crisis does not recur in the future.