It is ironic that in politics a smart move can coincide with a failed one. Starting with the second, the government’s admission, by the prime minister himself, that it was actually not prepared to deal with the refugee crisis, leaves an unpleasant taste. More important was the fact that Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ government seemed to ignore the magnitude of the problem.
How was that possible? This is a problem that has been complicated and acute for years and exceeds the capabilities of any government. Shouldn’t a new government have come prepared with some basic plan to deal with migration? Alas it didn’t.
It seems this government came to power with a very specific agenda that focused on economic recovery, disregarding the huge, persistent problem coming from the east, even though the humanitarian crisis had exploded on the islands and the different identification centers for asylum seekers during the time of the SYRIZA administration.
The point now is not that we currently have a government with an open or tough policy toward refugees, but that we have a government that doesn’t have much of a policy – at least it didn’t until now. From now on, the government will have to deal with migration as well as the crisis in Greek-Turkish relations. There is scope for this failure to turn into a success, but it will require a lot of effort, a system and a method.
In a way, the stance of the conservative government reminds us of main opposition SYRIZA’s toward the economic crisis when it first came to power in January 2015. Of course back then we not only saw a lack of policy, but also fantasies of revolutionary greatness. In the same way that the economic crisis was indeed the number one problem that the new government would have to deal with, so in 2019-2020 the number one crisis concerns refugees and migrants.
What about the smart move? The prime minister’s admission of failure regarding migration almost coincided with the announcement of his nominee for president of the Republic, top judge Katerina Sakellaropoulou. The vast majority of lawmakers will vote in favor of her candidacy, except those of the Communist Party and possibly MeRA25, whose founder and leader, in full narcissistic frenzy once again, committed the blatant indecency of nominating Magda Fyssa, the mother of slain anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas, without asking her, just for show. This is a huge fiasco that everyone has condemned.
The nomination is a success at a substantive and tactical level that will open new prospects in the future. On the one hand, it has disarmed the opposition, but most importantly, it has brought about a spirit of consensus, which is absolutely necessary during such a crucial time in foreign policy. However, there is a lot of hard work that needs to be done in handling migration.