Opinion: Greece’s Next Chapter



By Andrew Tzembelicos

Now that Greece is beyond the July 7 national election, it has entered a new chapter in
its history. That calls for charting a different course from the past decade, involving
several key elements.

One is critical investment in infrastructure and businesses, and especially small business
and the entrepreneurs who can and will power the country forward with their ideas and
innovations. By extension this involves tapping into youth and the next generation who
were so often, for 10 years, pawns in a situation they did not create.

Another involves enticing those who left Greece because of the crisis — to bring their
talent, experience and learnings from abroad back to Greece.

Then, there’s perhaps the simplest but most complex element: clearly outlining a
national vision — one that knows no partisan boundaries. This vision is about tapping
into the pride of the nation, the very essence of its soul.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis has already expressed his commitment to ushering in a new vision and that he will “work hard to represent all Greeks.”

This ‘visioning process’ could start immediately by quickly convening a national panel
involving members of all political stripes, Greece’s top minds and influencers and
perhaps some well-respected voices from the diaspora. Then it involves capturing that
vision in a substantive document that transcends party boundaries, with ideas that can
be readily and widely shared across all corners of the country. It should be a vision that
inspires and engages and allows the people of Greece to finally move beyond the crisis
— proud of their history, proud of their strength and excited about the promise of the
future.

This vision is a broad lookahead that should be framed around a simple question: what
does the Greece of 2050 aspire to be?

An extension of this work involves ‘rebranding’ Greece — not only to the people of
Greece but to the outside world. It involves sharing Greek success stories, ingenuity and
know-how, of helping shed some of the negative stereotypes that existed before the
crisis and that the crisis only then served to reinforce.

Just as the country and its people showed the world what was possible when Greece
hosted the Athens 2004 Olympic and Paralympic Games, there is a real opportunity to
craft that vision and tell that story.

Timing is everything. The time to start the next chapter begins now.

Andrew Tzembelicos is a Greek-Canadian writer, editor and communications consultant
currently based in Athens