There can be no doubt that the long festering FYROM naming issue is only harmful for our national interests. It is equally clear that a solution that includes the name Macedonia is no cause for celebration, and cannot make Greeks feel “nationally proud”, as the prime minister would like. The solution is a necessary evil. The “cure” is too painful to be celebrated with fiestas.

A government should not always follow popular sentiment. Often it must guide society, rather than be guided by it. On the other hand, it cannot rule as if popular sentiment is of no value. It cannot celebrate when citizens react with negative sentiments to its decision, especially when the decision regards an issue of well-known, heightened national sensitivities.

This emotional disharmony bears witness to a broader chasm between the government and the people.

The government handled the FYROM naming issue with the same anxiety as it does all others, the anxiety to register a success without taking into account the cost that citizens believe they have shouldered.

This is not the first time this is happening. The celebrations over high primary surpluses, despite the fact that they are the result of huge over-taxation, are a palpable example.

This is the first time, however, that the government is advertising as a success something that the overwhelming majority of citizens view as a painful compromise.