The government, which once battled strict fiscal discipline, is now boasting because its performance in producing primary surpluses exceeds the targets of the bailout memorandum.
Suddenly, exceeding primary surplus targets became a gauge of the effectiveness of the country’s economic policy.
What the government – which defines itself as left-wing – actually is boasting about is the fact that it managed to tighten the straps of a straightjacket.
The government, except for the finance minister to some extent, does not acknowledge the harsh reality, but Manfred Weber did. That is why the German head of the European People’s Party – and by all indications the successor to Jean-Claude Juncker as President of the European Commission – left open the possibility of a renegotiation of the Greek programme’s primary surplus targets.
Weber in essence acknowledged that the straighgtjacket must be loosened and not further tightened so that any government could present ostensibly popular policies.
He said that the precondition for that letting up is the opening of new areas of growth. For that to happen, economic activity must be freed from the shackles of over-taxation. Growth under the current conditions cannot occur.
On the contrary, the country needs measures such as freeing up the bank accounts of those debtors who responsibly pay off their debts.
More such relief measures will certainly be needed.
The Greek economy must at long last be freed from its straightjacket.