From the Huffington Post, October 13, 2016
It is rumored that Constantine Karamanlis, the Greek statesman who was the architect of Greece’s participation in the European Union, once remarked, “I am throwing the Greeks into the sea, and they will have to learn to swim.”
Thirty-five years down the road, it is still uncertain whether the Greeks, able sea navigators throughout their history, can prove to be good swimmers in the European seas.
The crisis of 2010 in addition to earlier mini crises and near misses of the late 1980s and early 1990s are indicative of the roughness of the seas that the Greeks have had to navigate and their well-documented resolve to do things “their way.”
What is to be done now? The first priority is to acknowledge the limitations and the weaknesses of the current Greek adjustment program. The second is for the troika (EC Commission, ECB, IMF) and the Greek authorities to cooperate on the design of a new mutually acceptable adjustment program to be adopted by a wider political spectrum in Greece than just the current government. The revised adjustment program must enjoy wide political legitimacy in Greece itself, which is something that does not apply to the current program. The third priority is the consistent application of the program in a way that inspires confidence that the program is there for the medium term.