Safety net

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY ALEXIS PAPACHELAS

We should con­sider our­selves lucky. Imag­ine if Greece were not a mem­ber of the Euro­pean Union and the eu­ro­zone, if it didn’t have in­sti­tu­tions and jus­tice of­fi­cials who re­spect their role. At best, the coun­try would be run as it was in the cursed 80s, when a min­is­ter could force ap­proval of a loan or ap­point his gar­dener to head a bank with a sim­ple phone call. This is no longer the case, though there are those who think that over­sight and pro­ce­dures have put the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem in a strait­jacket. There are cer­tain of­fi­cials in the present gov­ern­ment who would love to be able to rule that way, or even bet­ter, to have the kind of power en­joyed today by the cadres of Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan or Vladimir Putin. They’d love to de­cide who a ma­jor pri­va­ti­za­tion would go to or who would get the broad­cast­ing li­cense of a bank­rupt sta­tion. When they can’t, they have no qualms about ex­press­ing their ha­tred for the per­son or in­sti­tu­tion that pre­vented them. The bru­tal truth is that such politi­cians would be free to do as they liked if Greece were not in the EU and still had the drachma. Th­ese peo­ple evoke the old sys­tem to jus­tify their be­hav­ior and ex­press a men­tal­ity that pre­vents crit­ics from speak­ing up. Yes, ter­ri­ble things were done to the coun­try – from mis­man­age­ment and waste to out­right cor­rup­tion – in the past by the state and by banks. But now we have hon­or­able judges and state in­spec­tors who have found a way to do their duty – al­beit too en­thu­si­as­ti­cally at times – thanks to the tools given them by Greece’s com­mit­ments to its cred­i­tors. The pro­po­nents of the old sys­tem owe th­ese peo­ple an apol­ogy and should be forced to prove that they will not al­low the coun­try to op­er­ate as it did again. Greece needs a new sys­tem of governance, not new peo­ple who do things the old way out of spite or who keep the bad ways alive. It also needs some­one to wage war on cor­rup­tion in a mean­ing­ful way, not by cre­at­ing a new form of cor­rup­tion. When the prime min­is­ter pre­sented his pro­gram for the coun­try, he said we were look­ing at a change of regime, not just of gov­ern­ment. I don’t know what he had in mind, but thank­fully we don’t have a change of regime – but nei­ther do we have a new model of governance.

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