Like a ship in a storm

The united front presented by the country’s political parties, which had made us so proud during and just after the recent NATO summit in Bucharest, is already fractured, while sharper tones, corruption charges and calls for investigative committees over the OTE sale and the bonds scandal herald a difficult few months ahead. The social cohesion of which we were so proud after the signing of a two-year contract between the GSEE umbrella union and employers’ groups has also been broken, at least judging by the stance of left-wing parties and the numerous marches which have made life intolerable for the average citizen. Heated political dissension and social unrest find the Greek economy at a crucial crossroads as it faces an international financial crisis and imported inflation threatens meager workers’ and pensioners’ incomes. The poor will become poorer and the middle class, uncertain and insecure, fears the worst. For countries like Greece, the crisis is an even bigger challenge due to weak competitiveness. So, what is our defense? The message from Europe, sent by Joaquin Almunia, is that the euro cannot protect us forever. The only certainty in this uncertain globalized world of aging populations and climate change, said the European commissioner, is the constant striving for fiscal discipline and reform through structural change. But, the question is who in Greece will work in this direction? The government takes two steps forward and one step back. It sheepishly talks about reform without moving ahead as fast as the economy requires and without enlightening citizens. The opposition, instead of coming up with alternative proposals, organizes strikes, and the Left, when it is not cracking jokes, likes to talk about Socialist transformation. Right now, the country is like a ship in a storm.

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