OPINION

Little more than a name

Just a few days before the European elections, official polls and a general sense of the situation tell us that, come Monday, June 8, the third most popular party in Greece will be that of the absentees and the fourth a brand. Naturally, all of this will take place within the atmosphere of an election, a laid-back election, as usual, that will illustrate the true extent of the public’s indifference to the makeup of the European Union, their lack of any sense of a common fate and people’s inability to express themselves politically in terms of a union of nations in which the individual and institutions are separated by numerous levels of mediation. How can the voice of the public reach the ears of the bureaucracy in Brussels, the European Commission, which is a body that is not elected but nevertheless passes resolutions which have a profound impact on the daily lives of the people? That question hasn’t been answered by any candidate or any party but, then again, no one has asked it – especially not in Greece, where European elections are used as a gauge of public sentiment toward national elections. Moreover, any question concerning the operation and effectiveness of this great historical experiment is seen as either coddling Europe or as being anti-Western. This stance simply brings the discussion to an end before it can even begin. It annuls the political process. Maybe this is why voting for the European Parliament is viewed as something like voting in the Eurovision Song Contest: a relaxed, voluntary process that’s even kind of fun. You don’t even have to know that much about Europe. This is why a party no one had ever heard of or knows anything about, one that is little more than just a brand, has sprung to the forefront of the race. The Ecologist Greens, the sad remains of a rather hopeful party of the past, without any platform, absent from all the great arguments over the environment, society and public discourse, have arisen like zombies and appear to be winning public favor, all just on the merit of a name.