Kefalogiannis: I would only add one more factor that has to do with the timeframe. I think that from the beginning, trying to implement such a program that has to do with political, social, and economic aspects, and requiring so many reforms in just 1.5 – 2 years and promising to the people that in 2012 we will go back to the markets and everything will be as it used to be; this was a huge mistake.
The shock was very big but if greek people had known that, ok, things will change, we will suffer, but there is a ten-year plan—that in ten years we will have this solution and that result… the mentality would be much different. I think people would be more willing to comply with the requirements. From the beginning there was a big lie from mostly the EU and from the greek government; promises were changing from one week to another. Greek people were and still are totally confused. They don’t know what to expect. The timeframe was a huge mistake, and we pay for that now.
We are slowly approaching the problem of the public sector. We all agree: less state obstruction, less state control, less unnecessary bureaucracy is good. But e.g. if you take away the police, the hospital and the infrastructure, the economy cannot flourish either. How can you find a balance?
Kefalogiannis: You don’t want the government to be a businessman. You want the government to assist the businessman. Here in Greece, the government has been running everything for many years. The most important problem until recently—and still to some extent— is that dealing with the greek state means face-to-face. So you have to go yourself and you have to meet someone. Things are not done electronically. And as soon as you have to do everything face-to-face, then it starts to be a personal deal. And when dealing starts it goes to corruption and after that it goes a step further. You cannot eliminate the state. What we have to eliminate though is the face-to-face way of dealing with the state. It needs to become impersonal.
After the whip there should be some sugar now?
Kefalogiannis: I think not even the whip. There should be a clear vision from the beginning. This vision was not provided because unfortunately Europe doesn’t have this vision. We all know that the economical elite was 100% related with the political elite because it was created by dealing with the greek state. It is still there. It is still resisting change and it is an obstacle for the new Greece.
Olympios I believe that there should be a clearer and more honest discussion about responsibility. The Brussels elites talk of the greek civil service and stereotype the average Greek as a tax avoiding and lazy non-European citizen, they avoid talk of their own responsibility and that of the Greek politicians and business elites. The Greek politicians accuse their opponents and the Troika. They still hide the truth from the public in order to protect the patriarchal society that allows them to make decisions for the public rather than with the public!