The battle come autumn

Under pressure from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund due to the memorandum Greece has signed with these bodies, all the chronic problems that had been building up over the years whose solution had been put off time and time again until some future date are starting to surface. The future is now here and Greece is in a position where any step back means disaster. New fronts have been opened and initiatives launched that will challenge the social, economic and political constants that have evolved in this country over several decades. Reactions are expected to be fierce and it looks like the government should be bracing itself for a very difficult autumn. So far, however, the strongest reactions have not been from the sectors hardest hit by reforms, but from those that want to hang on to their privileges. One example is truck drivers, who essentially tried to argue that deregulation of their sector would destroy the country. It’s hardly surprising that their weeklong strike failed to generate any sympathy. Meanwhile, we can safely assume that it will be the same with lawyers, notaries and pharmacists – and any other professional group that finds itself facing deregulation measures come September. This may be a sign that Greek society is changing, that the silent majority understands that the country has reached the point of no return. On the other hand, maybe this lack of sympathy with protesting groups all boils down to envy. Those who have already felt the austerity measures biting into their incomes but do not have the voice that unions do may feel that it is now the turn of these groups to pay their dues as well. Either way, most people seem to have accepted that change is necessary and that the battle to be fought out between the government and unions in a few weeks’ time will be decisive. The government, meanwhile, needs to remain steadfast, irrespective of the political cost, of the reactions by unions and by those within PASOK who still dream of a different path for Socialism. Unfortunately, the government is heading into this difficult battle alone, as the opposition keeps harping on about how its «no» vote to the memorandum is being justified every step of the way, even though developments are proving otherwise.