Greece’s exit from the bailout memorandums is not an occasion for celebration. That is not only because it is not a “clean exit”, due to the continued, enhanced fiscal surveillance, nor is it because the tragic list of the dead from the recent wildfire continues to grow.
It is because the environment in which Greek citizens will awaken on Tuesday, 21 August, will not be substantially different from that of the last eight years.
Experts who have spoken to and written opinions for Ta Nea warned that Greece must continue to be careful and not make mistakes.
The situation does not permit much optimism. The structural characteristics of the economy have not improved. Public administration is not trustworthy and the judiciary is dysfunctional.
The Greek government will indeed have greater freedom in choosing its mix of policies, but those policies must constantly be reform-oriented. Every act of political irresponsibility and of demagoguery will be costly.
Greece’s Golgotha will last for decades. It is not just because of the huge debt, the high level of unemployment, and the flight abroad of half a million well-educated Greeks.
It is because of creditors’ demand for huge primary surpluses through 2060. Greece from now on will be at the mercy of the markets. The only way to deal with them successfully is to return to growth and gain the trust of the Greek people – trust as regards both investment and bank deposits.
Creditors have made many major mistakes over these past years.
“The dignity of the Greek people was trampled on,” said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
From now on, it is mainly Greece’s mistakes that will count.
What is required is prudence, moderation, and a climate of cooperation between the country’s political forces.
If Portugal could do it, so can we.