Greece finds itself yet again at a critical juncture. It is, as it seems, completing the bailout programme and meeting most of the obligations that derive from it, amidst an international storm, in an environment that is unstable and uncertain.
The country lost valuable time over recent years and was troubled by the constant reversals and ideological prejudices of those in power, and at the last minute it fought for the self-evident: for the debt relief that creditors promised in 2012, for the much-desired return to the markets, and for the tempering of the harsh aspects of economic policy, which have literally tortured citizens and businesses.
Unfortunately, the good and care-free European days are gone. Now Greece is called upon to solve basic issues and problems in a difficult environment, with agitated partners and markets surrounded by a plethora of dangers, and with the country ready to slide into a protracted electoral period, which can uproot everything that was gained through the huge sacrifices of the Greek people.
At the moment, neighbouring Italy is threatened by a flare-up of the debt crisis, and if it occurs, it will stir new doubts and threaten a fragile Greek stabilisation.
Already, the yield of Greek bonds rose exceedingly due to the Italian problem, a fact that does not permit a return to the markets in the foreseeable future.
Complications with Turkey, the drawn out dialogue on the Macedonian issue, and more generally the broadly prevailing nationalist surge in Europe, do not help our desired return to normalcy.
The doubts that were raised recently about the “high-flying” logistics and business practices of Greek companies, such as Folli Follie and Aegean Marine, create additional obstacles to the international activity of the outward looking private sector, and become fodder for a new cycle of suspicions.
The bad part is that everyone was warned about everything, and that is perhaps the root of the ill-fate of the country.
At various times, everything has been said.
If one reviews the reports of the governors of the Bank of Greece and of international organizations over the last 30 years, one will see on paper all the dangers that result from deficits, large pensions, the productive vacuum, the lack of competitiveness, the delays in education, corruption in the health sector, the explosion of tax-evasion, and the institutional problems of the Capital Markets Commission and of stock market authorities.
The responsibility naturally lies with the political system, old and new, which refuses to learn from its errors and omissions. Now, there is no excuse. Everyone now knows their duty and responsibility, and those in power above all.
The prime minister and his government will either devote themselves to the country’s affairs and to doing everything to ensure the toil and sacrifices of the Greek people, or else they must take other decisions.
Opportunities for action do not await, as our ancient ancestors said.