Article by Nikos Chrysogelos, published in the special edition of Heinrich Boell Stiftung (11/11/2011)
Greece finds itself in the centre of a global crisis, with euro zone having a common currency but not common economic and tax policies. In addition to Greece’s structural problems, the irrational construction of the euro zone contributed towards a drastic reduction of Greece’s production basis and a deterioration of its trade deficit. In Greece, the two dominant political parties did not proceed to much needed political, economic and social reforms, despite seeing the fast approaching dead-end. The leading political forces in Europe were not brave enough to move towards “more” Europe, while populist political forces viewed crisis as an opportunity for election gains. Thus, the Greek deficit and debt crisis, which in absolute numbers is comparatively negligible, escalated into a crisis threatening the euro zone and the entire European foundation.
This led to austerity measures to “rescue” Greece, resulting in unprecedented unemployment, huge salary cuts and disintegration of an already poor social infrastructure. Clearly this plan is unsustainable on a social, economic and political level, leading the country to social explosion.
Greece is in dire need of a well-planned reform based on European solidarity and a green turn of the economy. This reform should focus on administration reconstruction, personnel re-training and shifting from bureaucratic to social and environmental infrastructures. It should be accompanied by targeted limitation of expenses, and drastic measures against tax evasion and corruption in which, companies from other countries participated. This will pave the way for green investments which support innovation and create jobs especially for young people.
Rescuing, not disintegrating Greece would also be beneficial to Europe. The proposal of the German Greens, reflected also in their recent question to the Federal Parliament (29/9), constitutes a basis for a mutually beneficial cooperation between Greece and Germany.