Setting the rules of the game

The 28-billion-euro rescue package for private banks announced by the conservative government, in order to handle any domestic repercussions of the global financial crisis, has prompted some strange reactions. For the first time ever, the borrowers seem to be trying to dictate the terms and conditions to the lender. This means that although the amount of money committed by the Greek government is four times its spending on education (which stands at 11.4 percent of gross national product), many bankers seem to believe the credit crunch will bring them gains without any obligations on their part. The state, however, has many tools at its disposal to make up for the banks’ lack of involvement. The government must take a strong stand and impose the terms and conditions that the country’s taxpayers expect of it. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and the New Democracy administration must make clear that it is the lenders who decide the rules of the game, and not those who borrow the money.