Easy route will lead to nowhere

Prime Minister George Papandreou appeared in Parliament yesterday to unveil the recently elected PASOK government’s policy program. The premier took advantage of the opportunity he was given yesterday to inform deputies and television viewers that the Greek economy is in a serious state of emergency. But this announcement also served as a message to Papandreou’s own party because, on a practical level, the implications of the dire economic situation are that the government must at all costs avoid the old, and failed, recipe of gradual adjustments and reforms, and must deal with the serious problems dogging the national economy head-on with bold measures. Meanwhile, the perilous state of the economy also means that the promises PASOK made during the election campaign of providing more handouts to several sectors of society need to be shelved for the time being. We must understand that, in the long run, putting a stop to benefits and handouts will serve national interest at a time when the country is facing a long period of economic instability.