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Greece Drags Itself Back Toward Normality

Ferdinando Giugliano, (2018), “Greece Drags Itself Back Toward Normality”Bloomberg Opinion, 7 December

As the cradle of democracy, Greece knows better than most countries what politics is all about. Yet, for the last eight years, any discussions between lawmakers from the left and right there have been overshadowed by the country’s economic collapse, and the string of rescue programs put together by the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

Athens has been locked in permanent confrontation with its European partners, which culminated in the showdown of 2015 when Greece very nearly exited the euro after a dramatic referendum. Politicians of every persuasion had little room for maneuver, as economic policy was dictated by the “memoranda of understanding” with its financial rescuers, who imposed budget consolidation and structural reforms.

Greece left its third adjustment program in August, and it’s refreshing to feel a hint of a return to politics as usual ahead of next year’s general election. Politicians have largely stopped blaming Brussels, and seem more focused on what they might do for voters. The confrontation between Syriza, the left-wing governing party, and New Democracy, the center-right opposition that’s leading in the polls, is fierce. But it offers the impression of a country that’s longing for normality.

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