Posts Tagged ‘Greece’

To ask ..or not to ask..

June 6, 2012

Questions among -not only- Greeks these days:

  • Will a stable government stem from the elections on June 17th?
  • Are the Greeks ready for making an alternative (radical left) choice?
  • Is the above choice a rational one?
  • Is there really an alternative choice in Greece? …….Greece?…..Which Greece?
  • Could a disorderly Greek exit cause a contagion and destabilisation in EU? ………EU? …….Which EU?

 

 

Much ado about Nothing

February 16, 2012

During the last months I am contemplating -me and the rest of the Greeks alike – the default of the Greek economy as a pragmatic scenario. And, instantly I become more European, thus even more sceptical about the whole European project, I realise its fragile character and its only certain dimension: its uncertainty.

Martin Wolf in today’s FT

..’The Eurozone is in a form of limbo: it is neither so deeply integrated that break-up is unconceivable, nor so lightly integrated that break-up is tolerable’…

In search of the lost PM or how to go Greek for a week

November 10, 2011

Go Greek for a Week?

How to do it

  1. Learn to live without a Prime Minister
  2. Learn to live without knowing when a new Prime Minister will be available
  3. Learn to live with the hope that your country will be governed some day in the future
  4. Learn to be patient….
  5. Introduce ‘Chaos’ in your everyday vocabulary
  6. Save a tear for the near (…future…)

En attendant…….?

November 5, 2011

George Papandreou’s risky gamble re referrendum has backfired. Although he was still able to get a vote of confidence yesterday, the political landscape in Greece will soon change under the new government of national unity soon to be formed.

lessons?

  • when we are called to take action, i.e. to choose and directly express our support or opposition, we are hesitant and step back. Choice demands action, and action demands responsibility…
  • Mr Samaras, New Democracy’s leader, has been constantly opposed the EU-IMF reform programme. He now expects the call of elections as if he is ready to oppose all the programmes, the implementation of which is necessary if we do not wish the default scenario to come true. He did not even attend the (possibly last one under his current position) Papandreou’s speech in the Parliament yesterday.  Neither did the rest of New Democracy parliamentarians, continuing to demonstrate a well-known behaviour driven by personal or party’s interests. Is Roubini right in his suggestions about the opposition party?
  • The Greek leftist parties continue to reject facing the reality and making viable propositions about what to be done.
  • Greece’s credibility has been traumatised, although there are voices around celebrating Papadreou’s decision to let people decide. But he has already infuriated his partners in and outside Greece.
  • EU’s credibility is also at stake. Big questions on the very nature of the state, sovereignty and democracy still remain open. And when the European weakest link is able to put the world markets in turbulence for 24 hours, it is obvious that the cloud of uncertainty does not only surround Greece…

‘B’ for Beijing but not …for Brussels

September 22, 2011

Nouriel Roubini in yesterday’s FT argued that Greece should both default and exit the eurozone.

Martin Wolf today in the same paper states that ‘..once the taboo is broken, the possibility of exit must be examined‘.

Greece is not the only passenger on the Eurozone’s boat…and the boat is sinking. I am not sure if the boat lacks a good captain but certainly something is going wrong with its compass…the orientation system does not seem to have worked so far.

And for those ones who wonder whether China can provide the much needed compass I am just providing Yao Yang‘s words in today’s FT:

As seen from Beijing, the euro is a European affair. And the Europeans will have to correct their own mistakes.

 

short visit, shorter hope

March 1, 2011

I spent some days in Athens/Greece last week and -believe me- 5 days were enough to realise the disappointment of the people, the anger, the lack of hope, the need to react against a system that put Greece in an economic abyss. Needless to say that the most of the people I talked to, recognised the fact that all of ‘us’, each of us, somehow, contributed to this crisis.

I came to ask myself: ‘Is it more than an economic/political crisis? Is it about a Greek mentality crisis’?

According article in the Financial Times on Monday, 28th February (under the title ‘Greece’s struggles’):

Changing Greece’s mentalities and attitudes to the state is a task that will last an entire generation, beyond the political lifetime of George Papandreou, the prime minister.

So, is there any hope? I am afraid I am going to ask this question again and again in the future. Nevertheless, the FT article expressed a reserved but clear  optimism under one condition: that the Greek prime minister  soldiers on the reforms. (It continues also claiming that on his present record, he would deserve to win any forthcoming elections).

My mind welcomes the acceleration of the reforming process, my heart though -after my short visit- is torn by all the suffering I was able to spot…..


The Greek tawrith

January 30, 2011

In the FT on Thursday, 27th January:

The rallies in the streets of Cairo this week did not only aim at the end of the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak, but the target was also the president in-waiting, his son Gamal‘.

For Egyptians, and many Arabs across the region, the trend towards tawrith – inherited rule – has long been considered the ultimate insult for societies aspiring to greater freedom‘.

And let’s travel a bit towards the North, not far from Egypt: what about the Greek tawrith? Just take a look on the names of the Prime Ministers in Greece, their family connections, their political backgrounds. A great example of hereditary democracy! The same names the same families for years! The tawrith is not only applied on the Arab nations and politics, it is actually what rules Greek politics for years.

 

Houston we (still) have a problem…

October 27, 2010

Not very promising predictions for the Greek Economy I’m afraid. The Greek finance minister, George Papakonstantinou did not raise many hopes by admitting that the Greek economy will ‘shrink by up to 3%‘. I look forward to his speech to be delivered at LSE next Monday, 8th November. I am curious to find out how he will address the future prospects for the country, the need for further structural reforms…the problem so far is that Greece plays nicely with the terms, preferring reformed structures rather than structural reforms…..

to be continued…

Slight Optimism and Strong Scepticism

September 13, 2010

Today in FT Wolfgang Muenchau claims that ‘A Eurozone banking crisis left unresolved’. (FT, Monday September 13, 2010). He concludes: ‘Two years after Lehman’s collapse, the fragility of the European banking sector is still an issue. I would bet we are still talking about it in five years. That, in turn, means the financial crisis will go on and on, at least in the eurozone’.

That doesn’t sound very promising for Greece at a time when George Papakonstantinou -the finance minister- is arranging a delegation with officials from EU, IMF and ECB to meet investors in Paris, London and Frankfurt. Greece needs to convince potential investors that confidence in the country should be revived. The bail-out package ends in 2013 and there is not enough time. Although the fiscal adjustment programme is going well perhaps further structural programmes are still needed. Just one week ago the Greek PM, George Papandreou, reshuffled his cabinet. Old Emperor with new Clothes? I do not know. But, it seems, not only to me, that he is still determined to try hard. Time will tell….

When (economic) drama attacks Drama

June 29, 2010

Epidaurus -the classic venue of Greek Tragedy- is supposed to epitomise the locum of Theatre – not only Greek but also universal. The Bridge Project last year ended at Epidaurus. I had seen the Cherry Orchard -part of last year’s Bridge Project – at the Old Vic last summer ( Sam Mendes with a transantlantic theatre company -Ethan Hawke amongst them) and I felt a great joy when I learnt that the same play was about to be presented in the theatre of Epidaurus later in the same summer. ‘This is where they can all meet up’ , I thought, ‘Old venue, classic plays, universal theatre, modern times, enthousiastic audience, universal theatrical language….the birthplace of theatre can still matter’. I don’t think that I stand alone on that. Caro Newling (producer with whom Sam Mendes has been working since 2003) found last year’s experience at Epidaurus quite moving:

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