Making the right move, finally

Greece’s Socialist prime minister has finally decided to send a strong message to the protesting farmers who have been staging roadblocks around the country for the last eight days. Although George Papandreou was forced to do so in the face of the fiscal woes dogging the country’s economy, his reaction is a welcome step following the blockades that have crippled trade and prompted anger in neighboring countries. Nevertheless, the prime minister and his aides should take a moment to ponder how different things might have been had the government maintained a more resolute stance during the strike by the Piraeus port workers last year in opposition to the government’s plans to privatize the cargo terminals there. Or had he had stood behind his finance minister when the latter tried to freeze salaries for public sector employees earning more than 2,000 euros a month. One hopes that Papandreou will follow the same sober policy from now on. There is no alternative tactic.

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