ATHENS -- The current disagreements with our partners are not unbridgeable. Our government is eager to rationalize the pension system (for example, by limiting early retirement), proceed with partial privatization of public assets, address the non-performing loans that are clogging the economy's credit circuits, create a fully independent tax commission and boost entrepreneurship. The differences that remain concern how we understand the relationships between the various reforms and the macro environment.
Given all current complex problems characterizing the European landscape, Greece must abandon many myths and stereotypes, accept that the country itself is the source of many significant problems and that it should mobilize its own internal forces. Europe on the other hand should also admit to its mistakes.
Does anyone in their right mind think that any country would willingly put itself through what Greece has gone through, just to get a free ride from its creditors? If there is a moral hazard, it is on the part of the lenders -- especially in the private sector -- who have been bailed out repeatedly.
In the following interview, Mario Seccareccia, a professor of economics at the University of Ottawa, talks about why what happened to Greece was entirely predictable, why the Greeks were right to reject austerity in the recent election, and what challenges the country faces in forging a sustainable path forward with the left-wing Syriza party at the helm.
ATHENS -- The strong mandate he got from the polls, has put a burden on Mr. Tsipras to fulfill the great expectations he produced. If he succeeds, the Spanish Podemos, the French Front National and Italy's Bepe Grillo could all follow suit and question Berlin's fiscal orthodoxy. The much feared domino effect set off by Greece at the outset of euro crisis in 2010 could now materialize in another way.
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.