If we want to be “part of Europe,” we need to play by the European Union’s rules, however difficult this may seem at times. Each member-state has to achieve a balance between abandoning part of its sovereignty (and political autonomy) and reaping the benefits of being part of European unification. In Greece, we are fully aware that EU funds, regulations and institutions have raised living standards and reinforced democracy. We also know the pain of having to comply with the demands of others, as dependence on greater powers always breeds frustration. Today, though, this dependence is on an organization that we joined willingly and in which we are an equal partner.
Lately, Greece has been under fire from some members of the European Parliament, NGOs and news organizations, first for its handling of migrants and refugees, and, more recently, for the surveillance of Nikos Androulakis (before he was elected leader of PASOK/KINAL) and journalists Thanasis Koukakis and Stavros Malichudis. On the first issue, there seems to be some informal agreement at the European level (despite some protests) for Greece to guard its borders, which are also the EU’s borders, with the current strictness. The fact that the government does not share responsibility with others for this policy is a mystery. Does it depend solely on the inertia and tolerance of its partners? Or is it simply not making the effort to explain itself at the international level? Regarding the surveillance issue, the government cannot keep the discussion inside Greece; it has to deal with the fact that this will be investigated at the European level, too, where it is already under fire for it.
On Thursday, the European Parliament’s PEGA Committee investigating the use of spyware heard from the journalists mentioned above (and another who has investigated the issue). It also spoke with the general secretaries of the ministries of Digital Government and Justice, and the head of the Hellenic Authority for Communication Security and Privacy. The government’s discomfort is directly proportionate to the delight of the opposition and its allies in Europe. However, instead of trying to score points off each other, both sides ought to be working toward showing that Greece is a valuable ally which is trying to solve problems in a just way, within the EU framework.