The approach taken by the government in the negotiations for the very sensitive issue of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, though not the most important problem facing Greece, was detrimental to national unity and continues to negatively affect the country.
It does not matter whether the attitude of Panos Kammenos, the leader of the junior coalition partner Independent Greeks (ANEL) who is also defense minister, is simply erratic, a knee-jerk reaction to the apparent future disappearance of his party, or if he is acting in concert with the prime minister. Whatever the case, every sensible, objective observer will notice continued inconsistencies that make a mockery of the country.
At the same time, the theater of the absurd we are witnessing proves for the umpteenth time that politicians put petty party interest above the national interest.
In the first phase of the past few months, the initiative to solve the issue was designed mainly with the purpose of dividing the main opposition, which was not briefed, and ultimately no consensus was reached between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis – a development which would have been beneficial to the country.
Now, in the second phase, we are witnessing an absolute absurdity, culminating in a new proposal by Kammenos to ratify the Prespes agreement in the Greek Parliament with an increased majority of 180 votes. The proposal by Kammenos was tabled with motives that have nothing to do with democratic sensitivity or morality. Quite the opposite. They reflect immorality and sinister party calculations.
With his proposal for an increased majority, the Independent Greeks leader hopes for a legislatively surreal and politically cynical situation where he, despite being a coalition partner, will vote against the deal and New Democracy will have to either disrupt its relations with its European partners and American allies or suffer the political cost domestically, if it dares to support it.
Kammenos does not seem to care about discrediting Greece, which is in danger of finding itself exposed in the eyes of the international community.
The image of Greece will not be helped next week either at the NATO summit, where the country’s prime minister and foreign minister will promote the name deal as an achievement, while the defense minister will criticize it, describe it as “bad,” and reject it.
We are witnessing a theater of the absurd, with a dose of political immorality and national irresponsibility.