That is the main question already being asked by citizens, given the fact that the landmark of the completion of the 3rd fiscal adjustment program, of another harsh memorandum of understanding, is upon us. What are we to expect after 2018? There are already being noted many different views in a variety of polls, albeit most of them being pessimistic.
But is August 2018 really the landmark that we are all waiting for? Why are the government and the main opposition party at odds about whether a clean exit out of the program is feasible or not?
A necessary distinction is mandatory. Who needs what? The main opposition party is keen to persuade that it has the only viable plan to get the country out of the quagmire. That it is the only one party which can and knows how to attract and keep investors in Greece. SYRIZA, on the other hand, needs its own success story in order to rally as many of its voters as possible for the necessary and unavoidable compromise for a third memorandum with a happy ending, so that the “sacrifices of the people were worthy”.
Truth is – and we have to take special note in the coming months – that SYRIZA and ANEL have neither yet iterated nor formulated a plan for the day after the exit – a clean one or not – out of the fiscal adjustment program after August 2018. We still have not heard the Prime Minister argue how he imagines the country will be in 2-3-5 years or better yet, of how he wishes the country to evolve. It is not a coincidence that Mr. Mitsotakis spotted and mentioned this. “Life does not end in 2018. If you ask the SYRIZA-ANEL government, what do they have to say to you for the years after 2018? They say nothing about what is going to happen next”, Mr. Mitsotakis stated during a panel discussion with businessmen and industrialists.
This also provides the basis for his policy strategy: he wants to demonstrate that New Democracy is the only responsible political party which has in place a specific plan covering all areas of economic and social life as opposed to the current government. As to what happens next, Mr. Mitsotakis knows that once he becomes prime-minister, he will be called upon to manage a very tight fiscal and financial policy that will not allow him much wiggle room for populist moves. He is fully aware of that and that is why he keeps commenting on the fact, almost on a daily basis – that from 2019, pensioners will be subjected to further cuts and that by 2020 after the further reduction of the level of tax exemptions, all taxpayers will be greatly affected, even the low income earners, whose salary doesn’t surpass 500 euros a month.
If his own negotiation with the country’s partners does not succeed in reducing primary surpluses, how will he take back the tax exemptions, which he promised? “Therefore this entire discussion for a clear exit from the Memoranda, as the citizens perceive it, basically tells them nothing” Mr. Mitsotakis said today. He does, of course, have to clarify what he means, by good quality jobs. How much does a quality job position cost? In terms of what kind of employment contract? By individual contract, business contract or industrial agreement? Why should new scientists, who have left the country, return to it? They do need a reason for that.