OPINION

European solidarity ultimatums

european-solidarity-ultimatums

Greece faces a number of crucial issues: its dependency on the European Union and International Monetary Fund; financial ruin; troubled social cohesion, which the spirit of populism-fed vested interests and parochialism is trying to infiltrate; the deregulation of the social state and the administrative services; as well as right-wing fundamentalism.

You could also add to the mix the problems stemming from its geography, as well as those arising from the traditional mentality of “ownership” displayed by those in charge of ministries.

A typical example in this case is Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, who considers the country’s armed forces to be his turf. Hence his delay in consenting to the use of empty military camps as refugee and migrants centers.

Take this into account before you start comparing the position adopted by Greek society and the state with that of Europe’s leadership as well as various European governments and peoples, large portions of whom have embraced intolerant ideas in a most raw fashion. Then we can say whether or not the European Commission is justified in reproaching and threatening Greece. And this especially at a time when the Commission acknowledges that despite it having been agreed that 66,4000 refugees who had entered Greece would be relocated to other European countries, only 218 of those relocations have taken place so far.

In the meantime, oblivious to the lukewarm reaction of a shadowy international community, Turkey is bombarding Kurds in Syria. This is leading to new waves of refugees, on top of those caused by the ongoing civil war and Russian air strikes. And while Saudi Arabia, a country that nurtures a number of extremist Islamic organizations, prepares to contribute to the settlement of the Syrian issue on a military level, Europe has discovered both the ailment and the cure.

The ailment is Greece and the cure is the country’s exclusion, its expulsion from the Schengen Agreement – whether through legitimate or illegitimate means – the selective implementation of the Dublin Regulation at the expense of Greece. Most of all, it involves blackmailing Greece using the migrant issue as a means of promoting the bailout issue, and vice versa, so that Upper Europe will be left alone to enjoy its accomplishments. No one cares what happens to the refugees.

The Commission is firing ultimatums, while Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland are pettily promoting a plan for some kind of leasing of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in order for the country to lock its borders. But Greece is not alone. On Lesvos over the weekend, Italy’s Parliament President Laura Boldrini thanked the island’s residents on behalf of Europe for their hospitable stance. While the gesture carries no weight on the scale of cynical realism, it weighs 10 ultimatums on the moral scale.