With Greece stuck in an economic crisis and planning to spend “only” 50 million euros to hold the six-month rotating Presidency of the European Union on Jan. 1, the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes that it will be a “cheap” EU Presidency with an emphasis on the social dimension of the crisis and the immigration policy.
“The central message will reassure the international lenders as well as Greeks themselves: a very cheap presidency is being planned. The budget is estimated to be around fifty million euros, and Greeks hope to spend even less. Their predecessors in the previous years used to spend between sixty and eighty million euros,” said the report, explaining that the major costs of each Presidency occur of the organizations meetings in the country.
“Greeks want to limit these costs to the minimum. Except of the 13 unofficial ministerial meetings, conferences will be organized only if they really promise to give something in return,” the German newspaper mentions adding that, in order to reduce the costs, all meetings will be held in Athens, while hitherto it was used to hold these meetings all around the country, in order to promote the beauties of the countries in Presidency, the piece added.
The reportage also highlights the issue of security, especially for the meeting of Finance Ministers, more importantly if Germany’s Wolfgang Schäeuble is to participate. However, it is noted that during the visits of Chancellor Angela Merkel and Schäueble to Athens that the city was virtually shut down to keep protesters far away from them.
In terms of content, as it is mentioned, Greece plans a “New Presidency” a terms which means the resurrection of the country itself, as it is explained.
Greece, blistered with criticism for rounding up illegal immigrants and a rampage of violence against them said to be precipitated by the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, is expected to lay particular emphasis on the immigration policy, in the direction of looking for “pan-European” solutions. “During the Greek Presidency it is expected that the already existing agreements of readmission with Turkey and Pakistan will be better implemented,” the story noted.
Frankfurter Allgemeine underlined that Greece won’t have much time on its hands, as in the end of May 2014, elections to the European Parliament will be held, while the German newspaper also mentions the “particular situation” that will be created by the fact that in the beginning of 2014 it will be decided whether Greece will be given a new rescue package of loans.