Tag Archives: Greece reforms

For reforms, don’t catch a cab

Greece is a world leader in structural reforms. Who would have thought it? Yet, this is exactly what newly published figures by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) show. Greece comes top of the list in terms of applying the structural reforms the OECD has recommended during the last three years, ahead of other crisis-threatened countries such as Spain, Ireland and Portugal. Germany, Switzerland and Luxembourg take up the last three positions.

Before you wonder whether you’ve woken up in a parallel universe, there is a good explanation for Greece being in the vanguard of reforms: it had a lot of catching up to do. In terms of the labor market, for instance, Greece is currently adopting many of the policies that Germany turned to under the chancellorship of Gerhard Schroeder more than a decade ago, if not earlier. In terms of making structural changes to create a business-friendly environment, Greece is also years behind Ireland and other OECD countries. The list could go on.

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Restructuring? It’s child’s play

Graffiti by Absent

Anyone who is a parent or has looked after a small child will be familiar with the dreaded moment when a toddler tells you, “I didn’t do anything.” Once you hear these words, it’s a sure bet that you will find food on the floor, toys smashed to pieces or crayon scrawls on the wall. But it’s not just kids that employ these naively transparent methods, politicians are pretty adept at using them too.

It was, therefore, pretty easy to see through the government’s spin doctors this week as they insisted that the issue of debt restructuring did not come up at all during a meeting in Athens between Prime Minister George Papandreou and renowned financier George Soros. Visiting George did not mention the subject even once, government sources told journalists.

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