OPINION

The constant barriers to reform

How fast time passes. It seems like only yesterday that we were hearing the government’s pre-election pledges and detailed analysis of its widespread reforms program – which had been intended to contribute to the country’s growth on so many different levels, to drag us out of this rut of passivity and postponement and to release healthy productive forces that would level the playing field between us and our more competitive European partners. But although it may seem like only yesterday that all this was happening, it was actually two-and-a-half years ago. Today we are closer to the next general elections than to the previous ones; and if someone attempts to conduct a sincere evaluation – unembellished by the overdramatization of the opposition and the dressing-up of the government – one would determine that the overall picture is rather discouraging. The truth is that valuable time and opportunities have been lost over the past few years. The tolerance and high hopes of the Greek people – who believed that some progress would be achieved eventually – have been exhausted. Chronic social and economic problems have been aggravated rather than being solved, despite all the impressive pledges. The originally serious approach to reforming deeply ingrained shortfalls in society gradually transformed into an excessively laid-back attitude of «let’s wait and see.» The disastrous Greek outlook which dictates «never do anything today that you could put off for tomorrow» appears to be prevailing once again, despite the government’s pre-electoral pledges that it would be curbed. The Americans, who have a practical society with a deep understanding of the public relations game, have long evaluated the dynamism and performances of their successive governments from the initiatives that are implemented within the first 100 days of the administration’s inauguration. In the case of Greece, however, such dynamic logic and practices do not appear to have enjoyed much success. At the first sign of difficulties and reactions, any change or reform immediately snaps into reverse and everything is postponed until after the next elections.