Now we must face the music

Time to face the music. The socialist government of George Papandreou can no longer shy away from the grim economic reality. The premier must confront the skepticism prevailing in markets, the expectations of Greece’s EU peers and the daunting fiscal figures. As the stern warnings from Brussels officials have indicated, there is no easy way out of the present impasse. Nor can Greece invent one. Papandreou must either take truly unpleasant decisions and painful measures in order to cut spending or he will have to take the risk of leading the debt-laden country on an extremely dangerous adventure – a choice that may have unpredictable consequences. The PASOK chief has a fresh mandate and still enjoys a comfortable lead in opinion polls. Voters are largely willing to overlook his unrealistic campaign pledges as long as he speaks with honesty and does what he has to do to pull Greece out of the gaping fiscal hole. Should Papandreou choose the path of pleasant-sounding and vague statements, the cost for Greece will be incalculable.

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