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Our View: Cyprus did well not to follow Greece’s example

The demagogues of AKEL, DIKO, EDEK and Alliance were praising the alleged assertiveness and toughness shown towards the troika by the new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras

THE DEMAGOGUES of the opposition parties may express an opinion on every story in the news but on one issue they have all gone silent – the Greek government’s abject failure to impose its wishes on its lenders, or should we say the institutions. They have all chosen to ignore Greece’s refusal to satisfy the funding conditions set by the institutions and the increasing danger of a Grexit with all the devastating consequences this would have for the Greek people.

It was only a few months ago, just after the election victory of Syriza, that the demagogues of AKEL, DIKO, EDEK and Alliance were praising the alleged assertiveness and toughness shown towards the troika by the new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, claiming that this was the only way to safeguard the country’s interests. This was also turned against the Anastasiades government which, according to Papadopoulos, Lillikas and Kyprianou, was acting as the obedient servant of the troika, doing as it was told instead of defending the interests of the Cypriot people like Syriza had done. Papadopoulos was leading the calls for the re-negotiation of memorandum, applauded by the rest of the demagogues.

They are not saying anything now that Tsipras’ assertiveness and toughness has brought Greece to the brink of an economic nuclear winter, the government having been given less than a week to agree to the reforms wanted by institutions in order to receive funding. The Syriza government has been dilly-dallying for four months, coming up with half-baked proposals for ineffective reforms while refusing to touch pensions and labour agreements. It now has two options – complete capitulation which would involve agreeing to a tougher memorandum or economic meltdown, exit from the euro and collapse of the banks.

Eurozone governments now feel that the euro was not at risk from a Grexit, as had been the case five years ago, which is why they are refusing to give in on anything. Greece, through its recklessly erratic behaviour has also managed to lose any support or sympathy it may have had in the eurozone, its partners fed up of the empty promises and unreliability of the Syriza government.

If Cyprus had behaved in this assertive way, as our fearless demagogues had been demanding, we would have been made an example of and been kicked out of the euro as our exit would have been no threat to the system. But the Anastasiades government, to its credit, ignored the demagogues, continued to act responsibly in its dealings with the troika and could look ahead to a gradually improving economy. Praise should also be given to the finance minister Harris Georgiades, for working constructively with the representatives of the troika and shunning the shows of assertiveness and toughness the demagogues were demanding.

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