Strong message for reforms
Greece is no longer the black sheep of Europe, as in the previous decade of the Memoranda. Also, the political risk of the period 2015-2019 has disappeared. Of course, the deep, structural problems in the country’s economy have not been eliminated.
Never before in the last decade have so many Greek and foreign economic actors, analysts, and politicians been so positive about the prospects of the Greek economy. With the exit signs from the pandemic clearly on the horizon, all these experts, from the Delphi Economic Forum, urged the government in a single “voice”: Reforms and only reforms!
The international climate for Greece has changed and a tone of optimism pervaded the attitudes of almost all speakers. Our country is no longer the black sheep of Europe, as in the previous decade of the Memoranda. And the political risk of the period 2015-2019 has disappeared. Of course, the deep, structural problems in the country’s economy have not been eliminated. But they are manageable. The public debt remains too high in absolute terms, but it is sustainable (due to the extension in its repayment period), as confirmed by the responsible representative of our creditors, head of the ESM, Klaus Regling. Even foreign credit rating agencies, which once downgraded Greek bonds as “junk”, provided upgrades on the condition that the necessary reforms be made.
In no case was the narrative of the catastrophe confirmed, in which, in one way or another, the official opposition had so far invested. Even Alexis Tsipras was forced to say that he is not immediately afraid of returning to the dark days of the Memorandum. In other words, this differed even from the admittedly more moderate former finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos, who had recently predicted that with the policies beung implemented we could reach a new Memorandum. This is also a sample of the great contradictions that characterize the opposition tactics of SYRIZA, which, as it seems, changes its course under the weight of its unfavorable polling performance. It is true that the political leadership of SYRIZA is eagerly seeking to find that “front” in society and the economy that will concentrate all its forces, will strengthen it in the opinion polls and will “play” the role of the “Memorandum”, the pretext which it used to come to power in 2015. But times have changed.
For the time being, this role for the main opposition will be played by the new labor bill and its provisions on flexible working hours and individual contracts. However, it is doubtful that it will confirm the party’s expectations, in a society that is tired of opposition inflammatory rhetoric and which, during the SYRIZA government, experienced the increase of flexible and unregistered employment, the expansion of the generation of 400 euro wages, and the deterioration to jungle conditions in the labor market.