Them and us

Thomas Wieser, an Austrian employee of the European Union and president of the Euro Working Group, estimates that Greece can remain on hold until after the Christmas holidays – the ski season takes precedence. Clearly this is a witticism, but it reveals the cynicism and the sense of routine felt by a technocrat who is responsible for the fates of nations. The statement reveals the sense of omnipotence felt by people who have absolutely no political legitimacy and don’t have to answer to any democratically established body or committee.

With a similar sense of gravitas, European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn told Greek lawmakers three years ago that he would be missing his customary Saturday soccer game because he was dealing with Greece and its rescue program. Rehn does have to answer for his words and actions to the European Parliament and he is a political figure, even though he has been appointed rather than voted into the position by any kind of electoral body. He too deals with issues that are of a national or bilateral capacity and can have an impact on millions of people. And he too does so with a light conscience, with formality, like a very well-paid employee, like the technocrat Wieser.

The fate of a people, of a nation and of a state, is casually slipped into the agenda somewhere between a weekend of skiing and a friendly five-a-side soccer game.

These random incidents tell us something more profound about the political stature of the European Union itself today and of the characters of the successors of one of its key figures, Jacques Delors, and quasi-leaders of the one the biggest federations of states in the world: cynical managers who are addicted to corporate practices, who are politically insignificant, who have no sense of historical responsibility and who are often puppets of Berlin. On the other hand, they have revealed how they see us and how much importance they attach to us, possibly because they are also judging us by the prowess of their interlocutors here in Athens.

The lesson to be learned here is that every effort to get the country back on its feet and on the way to growth must be based on our powers and our powers alone. We are the ones who should be producing policy, who should be drawing up the plan and who should be taking action. Our foreign creditors and partners have given us all they had to give in terms of ideas and plans. They are who they are, whether we like it or not. The question, therefore, is: What are we doing?

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.