After the end of its “self-deception”, as it had said, and having signed the third bailout memorandum, the SYRIZA-Independent Greeks government put stock in an agreement on debt relief.
Certainly, it had lowered the bar as compared to its initial proclamations, when it was saying that it would initiate procedures to declare the Greek debt onerous, with the then Speaker organising fiestas in parliament.
Debt restructuring, however, remained the Holy Grail of a government that had brutally taxed citizens in order to meet extremely high primary surplus targets, to which it had agreed with creditors. The debt restructuring would be its very own success story.
That target, however, remains elusive. The head of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), in an interview with Ta Nea, joined the chorus of those who would put off debt relief to some future date.
“I would not expect this long-term commitment to become more specific now, and moreover I think it is not necessary,” Klaus Regling said.
That means that, at least for the time being, the issue of debt relief is being postponed indefinitely. It also means that the government failed to bring to fruition an issue that was of vital importance for itself. In other words, if the entire effort was all about gaining a three-year extension on debt repayment, it was much ado about nothing.
In politics, especially in a difficult period such as the current one, it is impossible to avoid mistakes – mistaken choices, mistaken assessments, and mistaken decisions.
At the same time, however, it is possible to learn from one’s mistakes, so that one may learn at long last not to chase chimeras and Holy Grails.