The president of the Eurogroup Working Group, Thomas Wieser believes that after nearly a decade of bailout programmes, it is time for Greece to stand on its own feet.
‘We are convinced that after eight years of fiscal adjustment programmes, not only can Greece stand on its feet, but indeed it is obliged to,” Wieser said in an interview with the Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung.
“These programmes in the long term are especially harmful for the legitimisation of the domestic political system. Of course, the reforms over the past years have not turned Greece into a Switzerland or Luxembourg, yet it eradicates major imbalances and errors,” the economist said.
Wieser believes that bailout programmes can achieve corrections in the existing system, but are unable to achieve truly deep reforms in society, which is the job of the domestic political establishment.
“This is the job of the politicians and citizens of each country. They must engage in self-criticism and seek the causes of the crisis. Of all the crisis countries, Ireland did this best. Things went well in Spain, but less so in Portugal and Cyprus. In Greece we still do not see it. There is a tendency there to shift responsibility to foreigners,” he said.
“Only if a government embraces the targets of a programme can it operate, and only then can its implementation and the necessity of it be explained persuasively to citizens. This has not happened in Greece with any government. Things improved surprisingly in just the last year,” Wieser said