The New Year confronts the country, society, and the political system with a series of crucial dilemmas.
After eight years of economic crisis, the situation appears to have stabilised, but at a low level of expectations, and with the chronic problems that have besieged us in the past still ahead of us.
The economic chasm with the European Union remains enormous, and as former Pasok minister Tasos Yannitsis wrote in an article in To Vima on Sunday, per capita GDP is at the level of 2003.
When the comparison is made with other European countries, however, the economic distance that divides us is comparable to that which existed in 1960!
Unemployment, over-taxation, and low salaries for those who can find work, have all destabilised the expectations of the Greek people, especially the youth, and they seek to escape in any way possible.
The optimistic scenario that the government is cultivating – that we are finally exiting the bailout memorandums and leaving behind the era of supervision, tough measures, and humiliation, as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said – is unfortunately a far cry from reality.
Even if the Greek fiscal adjustment programme is completed in August, as planned, the strict supervision and even harsher fiscal adjustment, with high surpluses and their consequences, will remain with us for a long time.
Despite the plethora of measures that have been passed into law, the competitiveness of the economy remains at very low levels.
New investments that could have fueled growth are meagre, or are stuck between the state bureaucracy and ideological fixations.
During the period of Greece’s economic crisis, the world has changed dramatically, without us being able to follow the changes that are occurring around us.
For the new year to truly become a springboard for change and for a definitive end of the crisis, the country needs an explosion of political and social self-knowledge, a collective leap that will rid us of the ills that continue to be with us.
We need a modicum, at least, of national understanding, which for the time being is nowhere to be seen.
Instead, we are witnesses to an increasingly political polarised dispute, a constantly divisive rhetoric, which impedes even a fundamental agreement on national issues that have been with us for years.
A substantial segment of society has accepted that we must leave behind the errors and ideological fixations that led us to bankruptcy.
It is time for our political leadership to understand the demands of the times, and to lead, with whatever political cost, a united effort to reconstruct the country.