Three months after the crucial elections of 17 June and the formation of the new coalition government, the end of the summer ceasefire once again finds Greece in big distress.
Giving an update on the recent evolutions in the country, one has the feeling of narrating again and again the story of a never-ending farce. Since the signing of the first Memorandum of Understanding in March 2010, all adjustment programs have failed to bare the promised fruits. On the contrary, recession has deepened dramatically (it is estimated to be around -6.5% this year), unemployment has skyrocketed (the official rate is now 23.6%), the welfare state is on the verge of collapse and the “ultimate goal” of containing public debt has run aground since its restructuring last March was unable to render it sustainable and discussions on a new restructuring have already begun.
At the beginning of 2012 Greece signed a new bailout agreement for 130 billions, together with a second Memorandum. At that time and in the midst of the pre-electoral period, the political parties now forming the coalition government were declaring that no more austerity measures would be taken. This was again proved false.
However, their show must go on – somehow. At the beginning of September, the Greek society had to come in terms with another “bitter truth”, a new austerity package. Its precise measures, worth of 11.6 billions, have to be decided at the end of this week and definitely before the next Eurogroup of 8 October, where the IMF will present its report on the Greek adjustment program and the sustainability of the Greek debt. Even though the allocation of the additional cuts has not been officially announced, most of the burden (almost 80% of what is already agreed) will consist on new cutbacks on public salaries, pensions, social benefits, health and education expenditures.
Meanwhile the justification of the economic policy followed does not seem to be of relevance any more. Estimations on the evolution of the economic indicators are revised almost every month and the only promise that the government is able to utter for the future is its word that “this time will be the last”.
For SYRIZA this is the beginning of one more challenging task: To face the urgent need for the protection of the vulnerable social strata and give a hard struggle against the new fascism that prances uncontrollably in the Greek society, and at the same time to work methodically for the elaboration of its program and build on the trust and hope that a big part of the Greek people has invested on it in the previous period. Once again its constant contact and the development of common struggles with the parties of the European Left are indispensible.