If the hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs, small and big businesses alike, took as long to deal with their daily existential crises, every last one of them would have already gone bankrupt. At the same time, politicians don’t have to worry about it.
Although Greece’s drama has left no people indifferent, neither those who stick to a tough position on Greece (Lithuanian government, for starters), nor newly declared Greece’s friends (European nationalists and socialists) would want the same scenario for their countries. However, becoming Greece is not so difficult. Here are a few guidelines.
We are witnessing the EU’s declining normative influence in three levels: inner circle of membership, middle circle of prospective members and outer circle of neighbourhood, and is expressed in the primacy of hard core economics, the weaker promotion of democracy, the inefficient political conditionality and the gradual realisation that illiberalism is becoming a threatening part of several national competitive politics.
The Greeks do not understand the imperative need for the reforms. Nor are they ready to reform. With the external pressure of the EU and other international institutions being the only reason to institute reforms, it is hard to expect any breakthrough. And this is the key problem.
The new Greek government of the leftist party SYRIZA wanted to take back austerity reforms in order to, for example, “gradually restore salaries and pensions so as to increase consumption and demand”. But it seems that the only thing accepted by the European Commission and eurozone finance ministers is 4-month extension of the bailout in return for presenting a list of reforms that Greece had committed to undertake.
We, a large group of liberal-minded and committed young Greeks, met here in Thessaloniki, on 26-27 September 2014, in order to adopt a resolution that responds to the most urgent problems of our generation. We want our voice to be heard. And we want our calls for action set forth hereunder to be taken seriously.
Nominants of Syriza haven’t even settled comfortably in their key chairs in the new Greek government yet and new prime minister together with finance minister have already made their first compromise and step back from their pre-electoral promises. They refrained form talking about the debt write-off, started talking about restructurization of debt and went on a European tour to find out from creditors which particular forms of restructurization could be acceptable.
The new left-wing SYRIZA government, which sees public expenditure as a means to counterbalance the lack of competitiveness, is all but a solution to the Greek problem. If anything, the pro-European and cosmopolitan young Greek generation – which is fed up with the “Greek way” of policy-making of the past – can make a difference.
Giving up on reforms could send a very bad signal to the other problem countries (Portugal, Spain, Italy, France) where they are also key to growth.