Optimism goes hand-in-hand with the start of a New Year. The hope that it will bring broader changes is innate in human beings, and the prospect of a brighter future is more vibrant than at any other time of year.

With our country having been sorely tested over the last years, it would be wonderful if as a society we could preserve that optimism even after the festive holiday season.

One must at the same time keep in mind that the challenges which our country and the world face are not determined by the calendar.

“Facts are always stubborn things and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence,” as US President John Adams famously said.

It is clear, for example, that the economy remains a major challenge and wager for our country. Careful steps and even more so prudence are needed, especially since the international environment of late has been especially unstable.

No political narrative and no need of any party can be allowed to undermine the enormous efforts and sacrifices made by the Greek people in order to achieve economic recovery.

The country’s political forces are obliged to take that into account, given the fact that 2019 will be a year of multiple elections – general, local and regional, and European Parliament.

While the elections in Greece may lead simply to a handover of power, the European Parliament elections may well produce a very different political terrain in the EU.

That means that there is no end to challenges. While it is always legitimate to hope for the best, it is also wise to prepare for the worst.