The national Independence Day holiday is normally celebratory and hopeful. Yet conditions – economic, social, political, and geopolitical – are not the best, and require reflection.
In three years, our country will celebrate 200 years of freedom, but is still bound economically under the supervision of its creditors. It has been struggling for the last eight years – since it faced the threat of disorderly bankruptcy and was bound in every way – to regain its economic freedom.
Along with that, unfortunately, it faces a plethora of national issues and foreign threats.
The issue of the naming of FYROM has lingered for over a quarter century and seems like a festering wound that must be treated swiftly so as to restore peaceful conditions on our northern borders. Greek-Albanian relations must also be addressed.
The most critical national complication at this difficult economic juncture for Greece arises from an ever intensifying Turkish aggressiveness.
For some time now, our neighbours to the east insist on a strategy of tension, with constant rhetoric against Greece, and ever increasing claims in the Aegean and Cyprus. In general, they constantly raise issues and create an environment of instability in the region.
There is a surplus of insecurity, and the certitude of a long-term peace is being challenged, with all the related repercussions.
It is obvious from the above that Greece, leaving aside all other issues, may confront an emergency situation in the immediate future. For this reason, the country must be prepared for all eventualities.
Because preparation to address a potential national threat requires funds, the paramount duty right now must be to ensure economic recovery.
A country with a flowering economy can address any threat with greater ease.
All of the above is of exceptional significance at this juncture. It will be decided in the next 90 days whether the Greek economy will find a path to exiting the crisis, or whether it will continue bound, undermined, and unable to capably handle any affair of national import.
On 21 June, it will be judged whether the country will leave behind, and on what terms, the bailout memorandums and the tying up of funds, choices, and capabilities for many years.
In that sense, it is of paramount importance for the future of the country and the nation to create the conditions to exit the memorandum and the crisis.
Taking back ownership in conducting economic policy is an issue of paramount national import.
Greece, unfortunately, has neither the time nor room for other choices. Now is the time, and this is the opportunity, for the country to undertake completely the commitment and responsibility of managing its economic affairs.
Domestic and foreign conditions require that the country commit itself to fiscal prudence and to meeting its international commitments, so as to be re-incorporated in a dignified manner in the international economic system, and so the economy and the management of revenues can return to our hands.
This is a national choice, in line with the March 25th commemoration of Independence Day. To the extent that it is achieved, it will allow us to celebrate with dignity in 2021 the bicentennial of our national rebirth.