Even before the end of the fourth and last bailout evaluation, before the completion of the fiscal adjustment programme, and before the extent and magnitude of debt restructuring has been decided, all the luminaries of the ruling party – with very few exceptions – have begun making promises of hand-outs right and left, and cultivating excessive expectations, without foresight and without measure.
Promises and pledges of handouts have reached a peak, with the obvious intention of rallying deceived voters, especially those who were disappointed when their once generous government retreated before the ineluctable requirements of an unfortunate Greek economic reality.
Incorrigible and unthinking, they caved in at the first opportunity to the temptation that has bedeviled Greek politics from the very beginning.
One would have expected – in vain as it turns out – that the experience of the great crisis would have made Mr. Tsipras’ ministers more careful and prudent. The idea that pledges, even hollow ones, can bring one no harm, remains dominant.
Because we are not lotus-eaters, and because the country cannot exit the crisis with fairy tales and false hopes, we are obliged from time to remind the supporters of populist pledges that Greece, despite the incredible sacrifices of the Greek people, has still not found a secure path towards progress and prosperity.
The truth is that the country remains under the yoke of crushing debt and relies upon its creditors, who will remain cautious and suspicious as long as the commitments that were made by Greek governments during the crisis are not met – with responsibility, continuity, and stability.
This is the first, overarching responsibility in moving forward.
Without establishing fiscal stability, and without the certainty that we shall not once again slide into a vicious circle of deficits and new debt, the country cannot take even a single step forward. One sees that every so often, when those in power veer off course, thinking that money is available for hand-outs.
Unfortunately, money is not available. Primary surpluses are drawn from the sacrifices of the Greek people. They are the result of over-taxation, and cuts even in public investment. They are earmarked for debt servicing, and not for the personal electoral needs of cunning politicians who seek re-election.
No one objects to paying for the true needs of citizens who do not have enough to survive. That, however, is a far cry from the rampant pledges of recent days.
The government at this time has a duty to finish without delay the bailout evaluation. It must organise, without further consideration, the completion of the fiscal adjustment programme within the set timeframe, and tend to the aim of the Greek economy being reincorporated in the international financial system, on the best possible terms.
That is the government’s chief responsibility right now. All the rest have no place under the current circumstances. If it does not want to – or cannot – it is best that it leave power and call elections immediately.
New crimes and fresh disasters for the country are impermissible. The Greek citizenry is now experienced. It is not moved by rampant, old-style politics pledges.
It has suffered, and it has learned.