The dream where Pa­pan­dreou and Sa­ma­ras agree

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Maybe I’m a dreamer. But just imag­ine for a mo­ment that Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou wakes up one day and de­cides to call An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras and say: “Look, Greece is sink­ing. We have just enough money to cover salaries and pen­sions un­til June. We must join hands. Don’t get me started on what I used to tell Costas Kara­man­lis be­cause, this time, we’re re­ally sink­ing. Let me put it dif­fer­ently: I run the risk of go­ing down in his­tory as the prime min­is­ter who led Greece to bank­ruptcy. But you also run the risk of go­ing down as the one who took the coun­try back to the drachma as my suc­ces­sor.” Imag­ine if Sa­ma­ras agreed to a top-level meet­ing, where the two lead­ers, to­gether with some se­nior aides and ex­perts, sat around a ta­ble to talk, away from the eyes of jour­nal­ists and tele­vi­sion cam­eras, about the frame­work of a na­tional plat­form. First, on how we can cre­ate a pri­mary sur­plus so that we do not de­pend on out­side sup­port, at least for our op­er­a­tional costs. Sec­ond, on how we can han­dle the com­plex is­sue of debt and how we can go about knock­ing down the ob­sta­cles, erected by our pa­tron-client state, that have long un­der­mined healthy growth. Third, on what can be done to curb il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion and stream­line our dys­func­tional ed­u­ca­tion and so­cial se­cu­rity sys­tems. Now try to think of Sa­ma­ras re­spond­ing: “OK, Ge­orge. I’m with you. But make sure you keep your boys in check and that you know ex­actly what you want be­fore we meet around that ta­ble.” Now imag­ine the two lead­ers lis­ten­ing to Bank of Greece Gov­er­nor Gior­gos Provopou­los pre­sent­ing num­bers and then tak­ing the time, to­gether, to trim state costs case-by-case and to agree on a pri­va­ti­za­tion pack­age. Do you know how far the spreads would fall the fol­low­ing day? And, more im­por­tant, how proud and con­fi­dent the av­er­age Greek would feel? I know what you are think­ing: “Dream on. This is the real world of par­ti­san ego­tism and pop­ulist sound­bites.” You can al­most hear some of our politi­cians telling our len­ders: ‘give me that money and shut up. I will use it as I see proper.’ I don’t have some kind of wierd fetish with con­sen­sus. But damn it, the coun­try is go­ing down and our po­lit­i­cal lead­ers will not stop play­ing hide and seek. Time is run­ning out. We must fi­nally get our act to­gether.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Greece

© PressReader. All rights reserved.