The need to return to economic normalcy, both for the Greek government and the country’s citizens, is patently obvious.
The EU’s adjustment of financial rules has facilitated the situation.
Yet, the government spending package that was announced by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis last week at the Thessaloniki International Fair was reminiscent of a bygone era, when governments each autumn had the capacity to distribute money without considering the cost. That kind of normalcy will be long in coming for Greece.
The international economic environment remains exceptionally unstable and unpredictable.
The prospect of bankruptcy of China’s Evergrande Real Estate Group, and the fears of credit rating agencies that the impact of such an eventuality may have a broader impact on the global financial system, have raised heightened concerns that one might confront a new Lehman Brothers.
For its part, Greece learned its own bitter lessons from the 2009 financial crisis and paid the price with a decade of austerity. These lessons must not be forgotten if one is not to repeat them.
The road to economic normalcy will be long and it is not solely a Greek affair. That is why the distribution of any “growth dividend”, however just, must be undertaken with prudence and measure.
Precisely because Greek economic growth remains exceptionally fragile and is inextricably linked to developments abroad, which are often unexpected, the government has a duty to plan its moves extremely carefully, especially as regards the disbursement of money.
That was the pledge Prime Minister Kyriakos made when he was elected in 2019 and which he reconfirmed last year when the EU Pandemic Recovery Fund was created.