Sunday, December 4, 2011

Surprise, surprise --- the EU Task Force was discovered!

The Ekathimerini deserves praise for publishing a lengthy report on the activities of the EU Task Force. One of the key questions/answers in this interview is the following:

"Do you understand why some Greeks might view the Task Force’s presence in Greece with suspicion? How would you respond to those who fear that you and your colleagues are here to impose orders from Brussels — or somewhere else — and that this implies a loss of sovereignty for Greece?

The main stakeholders with whom we work — the ministries, the different public organizations but also the private sector — know that none of this is true. Colleagues in the public administration and at the ministries know that we do not impose anything on them, we respect their wishes and it is for them to make the decisions. We are very much aware that if you impose a decision that is not accepted, it will never work. We want all the resources that Greece and the European Commission put in this effort to bear fruit".

Any "European" reading this interview (or the 1st Report of the EU Task Force) should be proud to be part of an EU which provides such assistance to member states and any Greek reading it should be glad to belong to such an EU! The mission of the EU Task Force is summarized in the executive summary of its 1st Report as follows:

The Task Force is a resource at the disposal of the Greek authorities as they seek to build a modern and prosperous Greece: a Greece characterised by economic opportunity and social equity, and served by an efficient administration with a strong public service ethos.

Can one think of any better news for a country which has been in dire straits for quite some time now?

Unfortunately, it is not sufficient that only the "main stakeholders" are familiar with the objectives of the EU Task Force and that there is a huge difference between the EU Task Force and the Troika. The EU Task Force aims at the interests of Greece; the Troika aims at the interests of Greece's creditors. Both are important but there should be no question that the EU Task Force is the more important one for the future of Greece.

Thus, the Ekathimerini article will hopefully be only a first step in communicating to ALL Greeks that there can be light at the end of the tunnel if one only goes for it, and that it could indeed be quite a bright light.

I strongly hope that there will be more publicity given to the objectives and activities of the EU Task Force (following the motto: "Don't only do good things; do also talk about them!"). My Greek friends, "experienced Greeks", call me an illusionist when I talk like this but I have this unwavering belief that Greeks, when told what the mission is and what positive things will come out at the end of it, will be prepared to rally around such a cause.

And once the majority of Greeks (perhaps beginning with the young generation) rally around such a cause, politicians who spend their time fighting over petty things may start feeling very lonely. One can only hope that they will!

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