OPINION

The message of Copenhagen

When the government first tried to tie the Cyprus problem to the process of European integration back in 1986, few people seemed to have faith in the idea. That first attempt – the brainchild of former Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and the late diplomat Yiannos Kranidiotis – was refined over the years to become a strategic foreign policy aim. Today, Greece enjoys the fruits of that effort and of its lengthy insistence on Cyprus’s European orientation. It’s perhaps the first time that Greece’s foreign policy has clearly outmaneuvered the one-time imperial power and overestimated Turkish diplomacy. Cyprus’s accession, the success of the Greek effort and Turkey’s failure to grasp Europe’s institutional workings and its Levantine, bazaar-type bargaining shows Ankara’s deficiencies as well as the path that the Greek policy has to follow. Recent developments on Cyprus highlight the benefits from insisting on fixed goals that are connected to broader groupings. Greece has succeeded each time it connected its policy to powerful and dynamic organizations. The vehicle of its success this time was Europe and the process of EU expansion. All our key national policies have to furnish similar long-term goals. To put it simply, the country’s image would be stronger had Greek policy engaged the crucial areas of education, health, public projects, and the market economy with European institutions and EU processes. The success at Copenhagen also conveys a strong message over the effectiveness of steady and long-term decisions: a mentality which needs to permeate all aspects of Greek policy. Consistency, continuity and stability is the only path to a fruitful future.