The end of the third bailout program and the progressive agenda

After eight years of hardship for the Greek society, our country comes out from the tough austerity and fiscal consolidation programs.

The process of empowering our financial sovereignty within the context and rules of Eurozone provides the government with the power to develop a clean-cut, progressive and democratic agenda. This is an extremely important development that was not for granted within the previous context of the restrictive bailout programs.

The big majority of European leaders, the European Commission, the European Council, the left-wing forces, the Social Democrats and the Greens, as well as a significant part of the conservative spectrum in the European Parliament have welcome the exit from the bailout program.

Nonetheless, the leaders of ND and PASOK, the two parties that have ruled the country over the last few decades and are held responsible for the financial default and the resort to rescue programs, are trapped into a political deadlock. They do not recognize the positive developments for the Greek economy, undermining the significance of the end of the bailout programs. They should stand up to the Greek society, assume their political responsibility and resort to self-criticism, stop ignoring the reality, stop keeping embarrassing the citizens, and vehemently building on a frenzied, belligerent rhetoric against SYRIZA party.

The Greek government begins to write the pages of a new book, concluding with the rescue programs, and moving towards the next goal, which is the final exit from the crisis and the constant improvement of the real economy. In this context, the growth agenda, improving the efficiency of bureaucracy, continuously reducing unemployment, increasing investment opportunities, maintaining sound public finances and avoiding mistakes of the previous leaderships, are vital parts of the political agenda.

There are many things and policy aspects that we need to improve and keep up with our efforts. Greece needs a restart, and this process has already begun and has gone on every level and every aspect of public policies for the last three and a half years.

The end of bailout programs also signifies a new political era and reality where all political forces are called upon to assume a clear stance on the future positioning of the country within a complex and ever-changing European and global environment.

In this context, the formation of a large, progressive, social majority is an historical necessity for Greece and our society, against right-wing, ultra-conservative regression. The progressive forces in Greece and Europe ought to shape a strong and broad front and isolate the political forces that support the perseverance of austerity policies and nationalist frenzy. That is what we need and we must continue to work on it more intensively.

The Greek society, as well as European societies, are in need of a viable economic model that combats inequality, strengthens redistributive policies and shields democracy and institutions. On this path we will work to deal with the political and social "battles" and challenges we are about to face. The endorsement of progressive policies by the civil society is necessary to win back the dignity we haf lost as a country and to move more safely in better days.

* Dimitris Papadimoulis is vice-president of the European Parliament, head of the SYRIZA delegation.

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