No time for reckless promises

The government of New Democracy has found itself in what would appear to be a rather strange dilemma. On the one hand, it is currently in the process of offering generous handouts to protesting social groups, regardless of whether they really need them or not. On the other, in the meanwhile, it is attempting to give the impression – not only to the European Union but also to players in the international bond market – that it is following a strict policy of fiscal discipline. The efforts of the conservative administration, however, are doomed to fail, unless ministers finally realize that they are managing public money rather than private funds that can be liberally thrown about to attract votes. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and his economic aides must be perfectly clear about the constraints inherent in the budget in order to prevent ministers from making rash promises of lavish handouts. For as is generally recognized by all, there really is no money available to back up all these empty promises.

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