A des­per­ate meet­ing

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY ALEXIS PA­PACHELAS

Most peo­ple in Greece ex­pected their po­lit­i­cal lead­ers to walk out of the Pres­i­den­tial Palace yes­ter­day hav­ing achieved con­sen­sus on at least a few cru­cial points. The peo­ple, who are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly des­per­ate be­cause they be­lieve the lead­er­ship to be in­ad­e­quate and ir­re­spon­si­ble, de­manded it. Athens’s Euro­pean part­ners and cred­i­tors also ex­pected an agree­ment, and now they are won­der­ing why some­thing that can be achieved in other coun­tries is im­pos­si­ble in Greece. Un­for­tu­nately, ac­cord­ing to sources, the dis­cus­sion be­gan well enough, with a sober tone set by Pres­i­dent Karo­los Papou­lias, though it quickly de- gen­er­ated into a ver­bal scrap more suited to a cof­fee house. Prime Min­is­ter Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou talked about ev­ery­thing, but never once did he pose the se­ri­ous ques­tions, as though a meet­ing of po­lit­i­cal lead­ers can be like a brain­storm­ing session in which all the op­tions are on the ta­ble, from a ref­er­en­dum to a gov­ern­ment of tech­nocrats. OK, we un­der­stand that Pa­pan­dreou can­not func­tion un­der the pres­sure of the mar­kets and the me­dia, and that he would rather have a lot more meet­ings of this kind be­fore reach­ing any fi­nal de­ci­sions. But the time for talk­ing is over and the peo­ple are be­gin­ning to get scared be- cause they see the panic in their gov­ern­ment’s eyes and they see that Pa­pan­dreou, as al­ways, seems to be in no rush and seems to have no real de­sire to dis­cuss his plans out­side his small cir­cles of ad­vis­ers. On the other hand, it is ob­vi­ous that New Democ­racy leader An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras does not want to take on a shred of re­spon­si­bil­ity or to back any of the painful mea­sures that are so crit­i­cal right now. This stance is also un­der­stand­able be­cause he be­lieves that it will get him elected. The be­hav­ior of both, how­ever, is in­con­ceiv­able abroad, where our len­ders and our part­ners have lost their trust in Pa­pan­dreou and also want to know who will be man­ag­ing the huge amounts of money they will be forced to give. It is also in­con­ceiv­able that when the coun­try is at war they should sit around ar­gu­ing over what kind of gun to use. Greece is at break­ing point. Yes­ter­day’s meet­ing not only tainted the coun­try’s im­age even fur­ther, but it pushed the peo­ple fur­ther to­ward des­per­a­tion and rage. They ex­pected a meet­ing of lead­ers. What they got in­stead was a des­per­ate meet­ing of politi­cians who are ter­ri­fied of a crash but want some­one else to blame. Shame!

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