The beast is still hun­gry

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY ALEXIS PA­PACHELAS

The Greek cri­sis, I’m afraid, will not be over any time soon. It will first swal­low three or four prime min­is­ters and some 10-15 per­cent of the coun­try’s GDP be­fore the na­tion can get back on track. The painful truth is that some of the dam­age could have been avoided. If Greek po­lit­i­cal lead­ers – and some of the coun­try’s key play­ers – had lived up to their role in the early days of the cri­sis, Greece would now have been on the path of growth. In­stead, it is a com­plete mess. Some took their op­po­si­tion strat­egy one step too far by in­vent­ing the highly de­struc­tive prover­sus anti-bailout rift. In­flu­en­tial pun­dits played the anti-sys­temic card, lash­ing out against “traitors” and “en­e­mies of the state.” Many fell prey to this al­lur­ing nar­ra­tive, mis­guided into be­liev­ing that they would be res­cued from the troika or the “oc­cu­pa­tion” by for­eign cred­i­tors. They ended up feel­ing be­trayed ev­ery time and shifted fur­ther to­ward the edges of the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum. This false nar­ra­tive has now been de­bunked. But the cri­sis – which grew on our wrong de­ci­sions – is very much alive. Look around. Never be­fore has the coun­try had such in­ad­e­quate peo­ple in such im­por­tant posts. The rea­son lies in the mix of cor­rup­tion, po­lit­i­cal en­tan­gle­ment and union ties. One prob­lem is that we have grown ac­cus­tomed to medi­ocrity. When you hear peo­ple praise TV celebri­ties or politi­cians that could not run the lo­cal beach bar, then you start to worry. Greece needs state- and in­sti­tu­tion- build­ing. I would like to see the re­spon­si­ble politi­cians out there sub­mit spe­cific pro­pos­als about what needs to be done for the coun­try to move for­ward. Deal­ing with the mess re­quires a mam­moth ef­fort. Com­plex leg­is­la­tion, an in­ef­fec­tive ju­di­ciary, op­po­si­tion from vested in­ter­ests – all that can put off the most pop­u­lar of prime min­is­ters. These are pre-mod­ern ail­ments rem­i­nis­cent of an old Greece at odds with the stan­dards of a mod­ern Euro­pean state and no num­ber of elec­tions will cure them. Re­gard­less of

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