OPINION

Shooting ourselves in the foot

Visit any island in the Aegean Sea at this time of year and you will quickly realize that the country’s tourism industry is, for the most part, sustained by visiting cruise ships. At the same time, under the lingering pressure of vested interests, Greece is doing everything it can to prevent large foreign cruise companies from expanding their routes in the country’s seas. The Greek government is supposed to have lifted its cabotage restriction on cruise vessels. But the reality is quite different. A really complex set of regulations and a slew of red tape – both the result of a deeply anachronistic bill tabled this summer by the Socialist administration – all but guarantee that no new routes will be added during the course of the next two years. Half-measures and a reactionary mentality are putting the brakes on the country’s economic growth. Meantime, foreigners see a government that is turning its back on investment from abroad for the sake of some Communist Party-affiliated labor union (PAME) activists.