OPINION

Political humiliation

Greece is suffering unprecedented political humiliation, the likes of which it has not seen since the 19th-century streak of bankruptcies and the post-World War II reconstruction overseen by the Americans. At least then, however, the country was emerging from war, civil strife and other disasters, while today it is taking place during the lengthiest period of uninterrupted peace, democracy and prosperity in its history. How did we reach the point, in 2010, of having officials from the European Union coming into ministries, checking their books, tutting at their findings, pressing for cutbacks and dictating policy to the elected government of a sovereign state? Where did we go wrong? Clearly we failed to manage our public finances and breached the Stability and Growth Pact. It is also clear that the problem is not of a technical nature. Mismanagement and the squandering of public funds is a clear political act that cannot be blamed on the state accountants, but on the consecutive governments ruling the country. Therefore, it is also clear that the solution to this problem, one that will bring about growth and purge the system, can only be political. There seems to be no such solution – nor evidence of a plan or a convincing promise of one – anywhere on the horizon. The government, under market pressure, is acting erratically, seeking technical solutions to the liquidity problem without, however, looking into the future, without setting the stage for any long-term development, without effectively producing real policy. The first 100 days of the new administration were marked by hope and patience, but now they have elapsed and we still have not seen any real policy. Other than promises of green development, there has been nothing tangible, not even one bold draft law, one daring reform measure, that would clean up the public sector and open the door to new possibilities. As a result, and until the government starts instituting policy, the country is set to remain under the humiliating supervision of its international partners.