In last year’s New Year’s edition of To Vima we described 2019 as a year of change. The title and content of that editorial were fully confirmed. Indeed 2019 was a year of political change as most independent analysts predicted because they discerned the trends and attitudes in Greek society.
Polling and other data then revealed that the credibility of the Tsipras government had long been lost and that its ideological narrative was worn out. Most citizens saw the ruling party as inadequate, out of step, and unable tp inspire the Greek people, and that it could not fufil their desire for a rapid exit from the decade-long economic crisis.
Events and later developments confirmed those projections which everyone else saw but only SYRIZA stubbornly denied. The result of the European Parliament election at the end of May, 2019 left no room for misinterpretation and the PM was confronted with a de facto situation. He was forced to proclaim early elections which were held on 7 July and the results brought political change in a clear and indisputable manner.
The Greek people “armed” New Democracy and Kyriakos Mitsotakis with an absolute parliamentary majority and opened the way for him to implement his policies unhindered. Much has transpired since then.
Political stability was reinforced and expectations rose. The economy was stabilised, markets were very positive about the political change and the new government’worked to create the conditions for a swift exit from the crisis with an environment of economic reconstruction and growth.
Gradually the climate changed, the country’s cost of borrowing receded substantially, and the Greek debt became viable at least for the next decade. The great dangers were checked, reservations were lifted and propitious tailwinds are pushing the country forward.
The international investment community appreciated that and started to view and treat Greece as an interesting opportunity. The overall atmosphere improved in the country and according to polls most citizens appear optimistic.
At the start of the New Year one can say that the terms and preconditions exist for a leap forward in economic progress and development. Political stability is entrenched, fiscal stability is not threatened, and structural reforms are moving forward. Prices, wages, and values remain competitive. All the data indicate that the country once again is attractive for investors.
From now on growth is a matter of discipline and persistence in implementing the reconstruction plan and restructuring the economy and the country. Only external factors may be able to impede the path of rebirth and creativity which the country has taken.
For the time being international economic dangers appear to be under control. The aggressiveness of our neighbours which could bring tumult has been met with many reactions internationally and by all appearances will not find fertile ground. Instead, it will force the Turkish leadership to back off and revise its strategy.
In short, 2019 was a year of political change and 2020 meets all the conditions to be a starting point for progress and creativity for Greece and its people.