After the announcement of the presidential election by the Greek coalition and the political upheaval that followed, some European Union officials expressed opinions that were characterized by many as indirect or direct intervention in Greek politics.
First, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a television discussion that he doesn’t want to see “extremist forces” taking over in Greece and he would prefer to talk with “known faces” who “understand the necessities of European processes.”
A few days later, EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici visited Athens allegedly to show his support to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and, for some political analysts, to send the message to Greek people who only the present government can secure stability and have the support of our European partners.
The argument here is whether our European “friends” are trying to influence our decisions, to tell us what to do, to dictate our policies. To decide for us.
Of course, things are much simpler than that. Everyone can interpret the expression of those opinions according to their own interests. It is natural that SYRIZA members and voters will see it as a blatant intervention in Greek affairs. Τhey will use their own rhetoric to prove that, indeed, the “foreign powers,” the “European usurers,” the “occupation army,” “the colonialists,” “the blackmailers,” “the bloodsucking bankers” are trying to impose on Greek people the current, unpopular government of “traitors” for another two years, if we go to elections and they win again.
All that rhetoric would be valid if those “evil powers” were in fact “foreign” and not our European partners. Because the irony is that, if indeed, we go to general elections, the fifty or so million euros needed — that’s how much the 2012 elections cost, twice — will be money borrowed from the above “colonialists,” “European usurers” and so on. Also, all political parties receive generous state subsidies with borrowed money from said “blackmailers,” “occupation army” and so on.
It is true that in the present government and parliament there are politicians from PASOK and New Democracy who embezzled billions of euros from European NSRF funds and they have to answer to the Greek people, and Europe, for that. But that’s another sad story. However, the fact is that in the continuous heated argument between government and opposition, it is often forgotten that it is not “Greece against Europe” or “Greece against the troika.” Besides the IMF, we are working with our European partners in order to avoid bankruptcy and continue being partners.
It is not in Europe’s interest to usurp the wealth of Greece or the wealth of its people. The EU tries to keep Greece in the euro zone. A strong euro is good for Europe and Greece as well. On Monday, EC spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said that the sole aim of EU for Greece is to keep the country in the euro zone. Europe is not our enemy. If the majority of Greek people believe that we shouldn’t be in the EU or in the euro zone, then, yes, the “foreigners” interfere with our politics.
As it is now, all the opposition talk about unilateral debt write-off or the return to the drachma makes European officials nervous. But it is not because they are afraid that if SYRIZA comes to power, they won’t be able to exploit Greece anymore. It is because they want to maintain stability in the euro zone.
So, when European officials express opinions regarding the outcome of the presidential election or the general elections, it is natural that they will favor the people they now cooperate with as opposed to those who call them all the above things in quotation marks.
And let’s be serious for a moment: If someone wants to vote one way or another, would they really take into consideration what Juncker or Moscovici said? Some Greeks are conditioned to kill or get killed for the political party they support; is it possible that a few words could sway them?