No margin of error … for the Troika too

February 15th, 2010

Following the decision to apply the mechanism of economic support provided by the famous Troika (IMF/EU/ECB) – a significant part of the Greek population was affected financially in an unfair manner; however the majority understood the necessity of this program, despite the imbalanced measures which only affected the working class, retirees, medium scale entrepreneurs and not the ones truly responsible for the situation.
It is widely acknowledged by the international community –and to their own surprise – that Greece was able to apply so many economic measures in such a short period of time. Few believed that a country such as Greece could undertake such an effort and fulfill all the requirements dictated by the lenders.
A few days ago, the representatives who have been assigned to periodically assess the progress of the new measures, visited Athens and discussed thoroughly with the Greek Government for the past, present and the future of the program. However, the aforementioned representatives surpassed their mandate and instead of assessing, discussing and proposing new ways of amelioration with the Government, they gave a press conference for the local and international media, in a highly questionable manner allowing a major social and political issue to arise.
Although their role is clearly to overlook and advise on the program, to consult with the Greek Government and to prepare a report for their superiors in order for them to take any decisions needed for the future; they certainly did not stop there – but instead presented themselves as the ruling body. Their opinion and assistance is highly valued, but by no means they have the right to dictate what the Greek government should do. Although they represent the lenders of a huge loan, their role is limited to such a representation of the IMF, EU and ECB and not of the Greek government nor the Greek voters. 
Therefore, the IMF, EU and ECB should clearly set the framework and limitations that their representatives must follow, without offending the people of the country in question. Every country’s people are capable enough to realize the difficulties and accept any necessary corrective measures, provided that their dignity and common logic is respected.

This is an extremely sensitive period for Greece and as it has been obvious over the last weeks, for many countries that face severe economic issues. Thorough and proper management of the public feeling plays a critical role for the success of all efforts towards socio-economic development.

Stephanos Costopoulos
Former President AMCHAM

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