Silence of politics

On the occasion of today’s informal meeting of the 25 EU leaders in London, the already vigorous political dialogue on the future of Europe has heated up. Tony Blair, prime minister of the UK, which also holds the rotating EU presidency, addressed the European Parliament yesterday; French President Jacques Chirac is exporting his ideas with articles in European newspapers; and the German political leadership is seeking a new path after the elections. Throughout Europe there is keen discussion about the challenges facing the EU. This is perfectly natural, given that the EU has not yet managed to find a new, modern mix of the market economy and the social state, while the alliance is also divided between the supporters of unification and the supporters of the Atlantic alliance. These big issues are vital for Europe’s future. And they are crucial for Greece, of course, since the country has linked its economy to funds from the EU, its legislation to EU directives and its very political future to EU enlargement. Proof of the last is the fact that Athens describes the rapprochement of Brussels and Ankara as a certain road to the normalization of Greek-Turkish relations. Vital issues, feverish dialogue. But that is elsewhere, in the West. In Greece, there is not a word about it. Our voluble politicians who cruise around television channels do not think, do not engage in dialogue, do not write articles, do not give a damn about European challenges and the heated dialogue in EU capitals. Heedless, unprepared, indifferent, they chatter on about subjects determined by television. Kathimerini recently published an article written by Chirac about the future of the EU. No Greek politician has so much as put pen to paper on the subject. This is an old phenomenon; we saw it recently with the matter of Turkey’s EU accession talks. Whatever was written then was written by journalists and a few academics. Now, however, one is entitled to feel even greater rage at this political speechlessness, when total silence on great European issues coincides with the parade of politicians on all the channels and their empty volubility on the local dirt and its public discourse. If television-led scandalmongering has become a running sore, what can one say of so-called leaders who belie their role every day?