OPINION

Shadowboxing before the European Council

shadowboxing-before-the-european-council

Friday’s meeting of political party leaders under President Prokopis Pavlopoulos to discuss the refugee crisis and Greece’s position at next Monday’s European Council appears to be much ado about nothing, in keeping with the Greek political scene’s cheap theatrics.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras allowed the impression to be created that he would exercise his veto if any countries declined to accept their quota of refugees for resettlement. New Democracy, in a reflex reaction, loudly declared that Greece should not be isolated. This is rather like a fantasy conflict.

First, no draft resolution of the European Council has been presented, to form the basis of tough negotiations. More importantly, though, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has repeatedly described the position of some raging Visegrad leaders as anti-European and has warned that any disagreement on the refugee resettlement scheme would have a negative impact on the euro.

Consequently, after shaking up the European system and causing grave harm to Greece with his revolutionary obsessions, Tsipras finds himself with powerful allies in this instance. It is others who risk isolation.

The European Council is indeed crucial but for other reasons. The question is whether the Visegrad countries and Austria will cooperate so that a unanimous decision on the distribution of refugees is reached, or whether the clause regarding qualified majorities is activated and European policy is imposed on the dissidents. erkel wants to avoid the latter outcome, so as to maintain a sense that the Union is well-run, with collective and democratic functioning.

Tsipras, who, through his office should understand all this, allowed the idea of the veto to waft around so that he could return to Athens in triumph, the protector of Greek interests. This was PASOK’s policy for 20 years.

At the same time, ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis could claim that his strong stand prevented the veto and forced the government to act prudently and responsibly. Provincial amateur theatrics.

This, however, does not mean that things are simple and safe, because the devil is in the details and in the implementation of whichever agreement is reached. That is the problem, given that our country is in a state of total disarray and, furthermore, everything depends on Turkey, with whom it has never been easy to deal. This is common sense.