There are no words that can accurately describe my reaction to haughty political talk. “I will not sign such statements!” These words uttered today in Athens by the head of New Democracy’s Antonis Samaras is further proof that apart from the serious fiscal problems facing Greece, some politicians still have a serious attitude problem. The head of ND has insisted that his verbal pledge to support the funding agreements suffice for EU partners to release an 8 billion euro loan installment, which will ensure that Greece does not run out of money before Christmas.
The problems that Greece faces are so serious and deep that no amount of rhetoric can get the country out of this difficult spot. There is much work to be done by the new government – which I might add is too big. There was no need for 48 people to maintain cabinet seats for the next 3 months. Having been there and knowing the scope of what needs to be done, I can safely say that this was yet another exercise of political maneuvering and in no way reflects that true needs of this particular government.
Going back to the rhetoric. For 10 days, while the world kept their eyes on Greece trying to discern if the country will sink or swim, there were no strikes, no protests and everything seemed to have gone back to normal. Now, we are back to the old schedule of public transportation announcing strikes, and protests and the police having to be on alert until the anniversary of Nov 17 is over. On a sidenote, Nov 17 has always a difficult day, because it commemorates the student uprising of the Polytechnic to overthrow the military junta, in 1973. Most usually than not, the evening ends up with anarchists burning cars, throwing molotov cocktails at the police and paralyzing Athens yet again.
The most important thing that Greece needs today is less rhetoric, fewer protests, sincere collaboration in government and a clear plan to stay in the euro, salvage the economy and return to growth.
Every new statement that does not serve to achieve this goal keeps Greece at the brink of disaster and must certainly not be rewarded at the February polls. It is clear that citizens felt relief at the formation of the new government. There has to be a sincere effort for it to succeed. If it does, political parties will have the gains they so desire, but if they sabotage it, there will be no tomorrow for them to speak of.