On common ground?

The likely participation of former Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis on the committee that is to promote the approval of a European Constitution by the 25 EU member states (a proposal made by Simitis himself and enthusiastically promoted by current PM Costas Karamanlis) is an extremely positive prospect for our country. It was settled in Brussels that the final decision for the composition of this committee would be made by the new Dutch presidency of the EU. The issue here is not Simitis’s possible assumption of a high-ranking European post, but that the former Greek prime minister will be participating in a top-level «committee of experts» (reportedly joining former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and former European Commission President Jacques Delors, among others), something that represents a real honor for our country, as well as for the former prime minister. At the same time, the fact that Simitis informed Karamanlis about the idea a few days ago, winning the current premier’s absolute support for the proposal, and that Karamanlis subsequently promoted Simitis as a committee member, is particularly significant for domestic politics. Many believe that the mere fact that Karamanlis and Simitis exchanged letters has aided New Democracy’s drive to convince citizens that it inhabits the political «middle ground,» while causing problems for opposition PASOK which is struggling to draw dividing lines and increase political tensions.