OPINION

New currency, new challenges

All the available evidence indicates that Greeks have taken the new currency on board, absorbing the changeover much faster than expected. It could almost be said they were in haste to get rid of their drachmas. They are accurate and careful in their transactions, demanding the right change down to the last cent and showing their respect for the new currency. The initial statistics put an optimistic gloss on economic developments. Greeks understand that they have acquired a stronger, safer currency and they also feel closer to the rest of Europe, since they are using the same currency as their richer German, Dutch and French partners. These are psychological elements that don’t show up in the records, but they will certainly have a major effect on the country’s entire economic and social structure. While there are serious doubts concerning the future and the country’s ability to respond to the demands of tough competition, the historic introduction of a uniform European currency will have a profound effect of the culture and behavior of the public. This is evidenced by the enthusiastic reception of the euro throughout Europe, where people see the new currency as a passport, another powerful means of communication in a large geographical area. With this in mind, one can predict that our community will become more extroverted. Our young people, who are already multilingual and familiar with the European environment, will find it easier to go abroad. Despite poor management and current shortcomings, businesses will have to adapt at all costs, keep up with the competition, seek international cooperation, and adopt organizational methods and ways of improving their products as their European counterparts do. The question that arises is whether politics can keep up with society, overcome the usual obstacles and enhance the almost natural flow of society toward Europe. Will our political system manage to get beyond the toils of the forthcoming election period and give the country’s European itinerary the necessary impetus? Soldier dies