Getting to know the radicals

John Milios

Who are the people that might be in charge of Greece in 2015?? The UK Guardian has done a portrait piece on one of the chief economic advisors within the SYRIZA party that may be in government by 2015. John Milios is an economics professor and influential figure in the development of economic policy and strategy for the opposition party.

If the Athenian parliament fails to elect a new head of state by 29 December, the Greek constitution demands that snap polls are called. The ruling coalition’s narrow majority has made it unlikely that the government’s candidate, Stavros Dimas, will get the presidency. With the radicals in the ascent, Milios and his fellow Marxists are likely to take the reins of the EU’s weakest economy.

There are few who do not believe that the insurgents will win even if their time has not yet come. After five years of catastrophic austerity Greeks are baying for change. “The people created us,” says Milios. The alliance has seen its electoral ratings surge from 5% before the country’s economic meltdown to 27% in mid-2012. “We have no other option. Every day the situation gets worse. We have to stay calm and deal with it.”….

“Everything we will do is in the context of staying in the eurozone,” says the mild-mannered Milios, rejecting any suggestion Syriza policymakers would willingly opt out. “The government has launched a fear campaign to terrorise Greeks into thinking the worst but in reality nobody believes all this talk about Grexit any more. [Angela] Merkel herself has said it is impossible for any country to leave.”

And therein lies Syriza’s secret: a high-stakes game of poker that makes the brinkmanship over presidential elections look tame. After almost five years of reinforcing the Greek economy with €240bn in rescue funds, the EU, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund may not like what the leftists represent, but the radicals are clearly gambling it is not they who will blink first. Too much sweat, they say, has been expended on the biggest bailout in financial history for the project of monetary union to fall apart now. “Because if any country leaves the eurozone that is what will happen,” says Milios. “Greece, in its weakness, is actually very strong.”

See full article here

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