ATHENS -- Five years after the first bailout was issued, Greece remains in crisis. Animosity among Europeans is at an all-time high, with Greeks and Germans, in particular, having descended to the point of moral grandstanding, mutual finger-pointing, and open antagonism. This toxic blame game benefits only Europe's enemies. It has to stop. Only then can Greece -- with the support of its European partners, who share an interest in its economic recovery -- focus on implementing effective reforms and growth-enhancing policies.
The fiscal adjustment we have accomplished was done much less through reform, i.e. reorganizing the management of our country, public sector and economy, and more through cuts and taxes. However this has placed an inordinate burden on the middle class, it has created an army of young unemployed and many households are under the poverty line.
BERLIN -- Not long ago, German politicians and journalists confidently declared that the euro crisis was over; Germany and the European Union, they believed, had weathered the storm. Today, we know that this was just another mistake in an ongoing crisis that has been full of them. The latest error, as with most of the earlier ones, stemmed from wishful thinking -- and, once again, it is Greece that has broken the reverie.
The internal political situation is highly polarized between political forces playing with fear and insecurity and others capitalizing on anger and despair. This inflates extreme right and left populism. Much irresponsible and opportunistic rhetoric abounds. This polarization is squeezing out moderate left of center forces that historically have been fundamental in promoting democracy and reforms in Greece.