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Editorial

Tourism Is Nice, but It’s Not Enough

In recent months, all of us have focused our attention on the devastation that the coronavirus has wrought on public health around the world.

And that, of course, makes perfect sense. What's more precious than health?

From now on, however, in parallel with this primary issue, we will be increasingly concerned about the consequent economic catastrophes besetting, to a great extent, all countries at the same time.

It is astounding to see the number of newly unemployed in the United States exceed 30 million in the last 5 weeks due to the coronavirus.

We are seeing millions of people not being able to pay their rent, out of financial weakness or for opportunistic reasons. We see people lined up for food distributions with increasing desperation in their eyes. Forces are building, pushing for the reopening the economy at all costs before we are all financially ruined.

Now we have the data from the European Union and the picture it presents is – as was expected – not pleasant at all.

In particular, the EU economy is projected to shrink by 7.4% this year, while it had been expected to grow by 1.5%.

I note that in the economic crisis of 2009, the economies of the EU countries had shrunk by 4.5%.

In comparison, the U.S. economy shrank by 4.8% in the first quarter of this year.

Greece, which went through a deep and long period of economic crisis, was forced to borrow huge sums of money to avoid bankruptcy, which ultimately turned the lives of Greeks inside out.

But a better tomorrow had begun to dawn last year. This was the basic promise, but also the main concern, of Kyriakos Mitsotakis: to regain the trust of the European Union and to create a friendly climate that would attract investors and put the economy on a healthy path of growth and progress, further reducing the country's unemployment.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus emerged and the Prime Minister had no choice but to focus his attention on ensuring public health as much as possible.

At the same time, however, there is – and the PM will increasingly have to face – a bitter economic reality, according to European Union forecasts.

The shrinking of the economy in Greece will be worse than for any other country among the 27 countries in Europe. It is forecasted to shrink by 9.7%, pushing unemployment to 19.9%. 

The main reason for this development is that the Greek economy relies disproportionately on tourism, which according to the Prime Minister, in the best case scenario, will open for the international market in early July.

Once again, then, we see Greece’s structural weaknesses, the deindustrialization of the country in recent decades, the criminalization of the profit motive, unbridled trade unionism, and the decay of the education system, which have brought us to this point.

On the other hand, after the election of Kyriakos Mitsotakis, new conditions have been created for a reordering of national priorities. And he is the right man, in the right place, at the right time, to do just that.

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