OPINION

Double-talk

Greek foreign policy is a blend of Proteus and Janus: changing in shape and two-faced. Each head’s features and voice change depending on circumstances – that is, whether it’s addressing a home or a foreign audience – and on the speaker’s status. When in government, he soon discovers the charm of consensus and tries to impose or elicit it halfheartedly or evasively. But when in opposition, his lust for votes inspires a rhetoric of unyielding struggle. If the audience has a short memory span, so much the better. Yesterday’s pressroom incident triggered by UN mediator Matthew Nimetz’s memo confirmed the longstanding doublespeak tendency. Unable to face down pressing inquiries over whether the foreign minister had notified party leaders about Nimetz’s document, the government spokesman reacted in unusual fashion. An annoyed Evangelos Antonaros stepped down from the podium to give his place to a Foreign Ministry representative. It was the first time that a spokesman was seen divided in public, switching roles, transforming himself from a government cadre into an ordinary spectator, replacing the usual «that’s all gentlemen» motto with a «don’t-know/won’t-answer» response. The government’s communication policy does not please even the most complacent of conservative figures. But the crisis sparked by Nimetz’s memo is not due to poor communication. The claim by the Foreign Ministry representative that Petros Molyviatis informed party leaders about the essence of the Nimetz’s proposals but without going into detail, translates into: Party leaders shaped and expressed their opinion in public while they actually had less information than some of the journalists. Was that a mere coincidence? A «don’t know/won’t-answer» response won’t do here.