Eyes off the ball

Although the elections have not been officially announced, campaigning is clearly under way. The minds of the government and the opposition are both fixed on the March 7 ballot. All political parties are bracing for the looming election battle. In theory, the state administration is doing its job and the ministers are promoting the government’s achievements under close monitoring by the opposition. In truth, however, everything is blurred, and matters are left to take their ordinary everyday course. But this state of affairs prevents the country from dealing with foreign policy issues in a serious manner. These issues, which are inevitably affected by the will of third parties, cannot be left at the mercy of campaign-related developments. The PASOK government must work hard and keep the other parties informed on foreign policy matters while the opposition must keep a close eye on developments and ask for detailed information when this is not provided by the responsible officials. Regardless of the fortunes of PASOK’s new chairman and of the New Democracy leader, developments regarding the legal status of the Aegean Sea and the Cyprus issue have not come to a halt. It is unacceptable that any discussion on these issues be prompted by reports in the Turkish and Cypriot press. The media are busily discussing every possible aspect of the two political «stars» on a daily basis. The two main contenders do not seem moved by behind-the-scenes talks on the issue of the continental shelf. Nor does anyone seem to be paying any attention to a potential Cyprus agreement on the basis of the UN blueprint in the upcoming weeks and months. However, if George Papandreou comes up with some handy surprise on the issue of the continental self, the opposition parties should not be surprised. They will only have themselves to blame.

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