“If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change,” the character Tancredi Falconeri told his uncle the Prince of Salina in Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s novel “The Leopard”.

Vladimir Putin certainly agrees with this famous quote 30 years after the lowering of the Soviet flag - which changed everything and led Francis Fukuyama to speak of the end of history - as he is attempting to combine authoritarianism with revanchism in order to revive the old, lost empire.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, on the other hand, is promising to leave behind this dogma, which was largely imposed by the policies of his predecessor and impeded the effort of Germany and the EU to make necessary reforms.

The lessons gleaned from the pandemic will be a valuable guide for the new German chancellor in bolstering the health system, restoring the role of the state, revising the content of work, and expressing the importance of solidarity.

The pandemic that has battered us over the last two years and has led to the death of 5.5mn people worldwide and 20,000 in Greece, is truly a unique opportunity to belie the hero in the novel.

Delusions dissolve, weaknesses are exposed, and trends are expedited.

In an Op-ed piece in the weekend edition of Ta Nea, Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras refers inter alia to the danger of the elimination of many jobs, an issue that came to the fore through the advance of the pandemic, and the need to upgrade the digital skills and knowledge of employees so as to avert their exclusion from the work force.

The world is changing at an extremely rapid pace, and the objective cannot be either to let things stay as they are or to return to the sinful past.

This Christmas will once again be difficult.

Yet, with the requisite maturity, and if the vaccine rollout speeds up, we can hope that next year things will be better.

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