Onus of reform is heavy

Both the financial markets and Brussels are expecting Prime Minister George Papandreou to announce on Monday a slew of impressive measures to curb the country’s deficit and tackle public debt. The leaders of Europe, as well as central bankers, have made it abundantly clear that Greece will have the benefit of their support and assistance but only if it takes decisive steps to impose some order on the chaos of its finances. They have also made it clear that they are running out of patience and time is ticking for the country. If the premier appears on Monday and makes vague generalized announcements about this reform or that, or announces little more than cosmetic changes to pension laws and other contentious areas, he will fail in the task because, as things stand right now, our European partners need Papandreou to show that he has grasped the seriousness of the situation. And the only way he can achieve this is if he reneges on certain pre-election promises and adopts painful reforms.

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