OPINION

Fixations will not fix EU

Preserving political cohesion within the European Union is a big problem but not a new one. But EU expansion will impose an additional strain. Political commentators were right in predicting that enlargement would give the United States a toehold on the continent, allowing Washington to pull some European strings and promote their objectives, such as the war in Iraq. The recent letter published by eight European leaders highlighted that the USA is aiming to build bulwarks against the main EU powers that seek Europe’s political emancipation. Germany’s much-hyped «sphere of influence» appears to be taking a transatlantic walk. In the light of these significant developments, it is absurd to expect of the Greek government, now at the head of the EU presidency, to make any serious moves. Similarly, accusing Prime Minister Costas Simitis of showing signs of weakness at this major political juncture is unfair. The prime minister, on the other hand, possibly realizes that the bitter and sarcastic remarks made about him after the extra-institutional and artless move of «the eight» are a reaction to his pompous language over recent years about an ostensibly «powerful Greece» that has acquired a «strong voice and prestige» in the international arena during his governance. Also, the premier’s spin doctors will realize that they were wrong to believe that the Greek presidency would prove to be Simitis’s strong PR weapon. These political brains viewed the presidency as a society event that would match the hoopla of the 2004 Olympic Games. Genuine politics is a very difficult task. It’s extremely demanding on those who practice it. Perhaps things will become a bit easier for the prime minister – when or if he shakes off his fixations.