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Home arrow newsitems arrow Papandreou to "EuroFora" on Sarkozy - Merkel's statements about the issue of Greece's Economy

Papandreou to "EuroFora" on Sarkozy - Merkel's statements about the issue of Greece's Economy

Written by ACM
Friday, 11 December 2009

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*Brussels/Angelo Marcopolo/- Prime Minister of Greece, Georges Papandreou, replying to "EuroFora"s questions on French President Sarkozy and German Chancellor Merkel's statements on the Economic problems of the country, stressed that he intends to struggle against deep-rooted issues, and welcomed their trust that Greece could succeed, with EU's help, to find its own ways to overcome problems steming from a long Past.

    "EuroFora"'s question to George Papandreou referred to the statements made by German Chancellor Merkel when we were in Bonn, (See "EuroFora" Newsreport :http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/merkelbonn.html), and now also by French President Sarkozy in our presence in Brussels, where they expressed their support to the first measures announced by the Prime Minister of Greece, and their trust in his promisses.   

 George Papandreou was asked by "EuroFora" to comment on the fact that important EU leaders of big EuroZone Countries, from another Political side than his, i.e. ChristianDemocrats du EPP, instead of Socialists, made such positive, in, principle, and supportive statements, , and whether he found that the crucial character of the issue pleaded in favor of a kind of national unity between all political tendencies in Greece who sincerely wished a better future for the country.


    On this occasion, "EuroFora" also asked him if he found useful, or even necessary, a kind of "concertation", at European level, together with Eurropean organisations and relevant Countries.
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    Earlier, Sarkozy, replying to a question during his final Press Conference at the conclusion of Brussels' EU Summit, observed, initially, that "it's true that Greece is in front of é major difficulty". So, "it's necessary that the Greek AUthorities prepare an Ambitious Strategy".

    He found that "the Measures anounced by the Greek" PM, "are a step in the good direction", while "waiting to prepare soon, in close cooperation with the (EU) Commission, all measures needed for a sustainable restoration of the Budgetary Statistics'" , and that "the Prime Minister assured us of his Will and Intentions".
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     The  Prime Minister of Greece replied to 2 our of 3 "EuroFora"s questions, and even reacted affirmatively to an earlier critical observation by "EuroFora", but either ommitted or forgot to reply on another (3rd) of our points :

    - "Leaders of other (EuroZone) Countries respect the will and the efforts of every Government, and of every People, to set a framework able to settle such problems. "EuroGroup" itself issued (earlier) a statement that the anounced measures are a step in the right direction, but that, of course, more is needed" We are trying to find Greek answers in a European context.

    "A real problem would be if we didn't recognize the problems, and we would have diffiiculties to convince if we simply said that we shall continue almost as usual, if we didn't have our own, concrete proposals";

    - "Our Credibility is linked to the fact that we want to tackle more Deep-rooted, more Crucial issues, and seek more Sustainable Solutions, which can advance much further on, for the amelioration of the Economy of Greece, and take more Radical measures than to simply cut today a Salary of Retirement benefits to some People : This wouldn't really help to make the Greek Economy sustainable, and wouldn't respond to the Monetay problems". In fact, there are also other problems in the Country, which are more important than that, and it's these, Harder and more Difficult problems, which play an Important role for the Future, that we must tackle". Such issues are, for me, a more Radical and more Deeply penetrating way to act, than to simply cut a salary or a retirement benefit", Papandreou's reply to "EuroFora" stressed.

    Significantly, the Prime Minister of Greece referred also explicitly to the manifold negatve consequences which were provoked to the detriment of the Country's Economy by a recurrent phenomenon of "'Clientelism", favoritism and nepotism, "Corruption and Bureaucracy", which had also anti-democratic, anti-social and counter-productive repercussions for several Decades, that "EuroFora" had, precisely denounced in our relevant Publication issued just 1 Day before Georges Papandreou reacts, as above, to our questions in a well-attended  Press Conference late after the conclusion of EU's Summit in Brussels.         (See :    )

    Had he (or someone among his assistants) read "EuroFora"s criticism, precisely, of what  he called himself the plague of "Clientelism" which had undermined EU and EuroZone member, contemporary Greece's potential ?

    Regardless of that, Papandreou at least told ys that he "remembers" well the Interviews and Publications that "EuroFora"'s main founder used to make in the Past out of his previous Political Statements, as simple former Minister for European affairs, more than a ...Decade earlier in Strasbourg, particularly when Greece had chaired the CoE (+ 1998)..

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Recent developments proved that Europe can suceed to overcome challenges by aiming at great objectives, and this is needed also in 2009, said EU chairman, French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

    - "It's in the name of Great Ideas, Projects, Ambition and Ideals, that EU can overcome" challenges, stressed Sarkozy at EU Parliament in Strasbourg, in conclusion of a dense 7 months EU Chairmanship. "It's even easier for Europe to have Great projects, able to overcome national egoism, instead of limiting itself only to small projects" (unable to do alike), he observed.     

- "Europe must remain Ambitious and understand that the World needs her to take Decisions". "The World needs a Strong Europe", which "thinks on its own, has convictions, its own responses, its imagination" : "A Europe which does not limit itself into following" others, (as it did in the Past, when it followed USA, f.ex. on Bosnia). On the contrary, "Europe should undertake its own responsibilities", he said, after a series of succes in stopping the War between Russia and Georgia, and organizing the 1st EuroZone's Summit in Paris, which incited the Washington DC G-20 Summit to extend similar decisions World-wide.  


    - "When you sweep it all under the carpet, prepare yourself for hard tomorrows", he warned. "What hinders decisions is the lack of Courage and Will, the fading away of Ideals", he stressed before EU Parliament's 2008 debate on Human Rights and Sakharov prize on Freedom of thought attributed by MEPs to Chinese cyber-dissident Hu Jia, followed by an EU - Turkey meeting on Friday.

    - "I don't abandon my convictions" and "I will take initiatives" on EU level also in 2009, Sarkozy announced later. "France will not stop having convictions and taking initiatives" on Europe. + "It's an Error to wish to pass over the Heads of those who are elected in their Countries" : "It's an integrism I always fought against"', he warned.
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French EU Presidency faced 4 unexpected Crisis :

- An institutional crisis, with the Irish "No" to EU Lisbon Treaty, just before it started. A geopolitical crisis, wth the threat of War between Russia and Georgia risking to throw Europe back to Cold-war divisions, on August. A World-wide Financial and Economic crisis, arriving at a bad moment before crucial 2009 EU elections. And even a Strasbourg's mini-crisis, with EU Parliament's roof curiously falling down, from unknown reasons, in a brand new building on August, provoking an unprecedented transfert of the 2 September Plenary Sessions...

But it wasn't enough to stop Sarkozy ! On the contrary, it stimulated him...
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- "The better way to deal with the recent problems of EU institutions (as the "3 NO" by France, the Netherlands and Ireland) is to take them as a "Test" in order to find solutions closer to Citizens' concerns", said later in Strasbourg Sarkozy's new choice as Ministe for EU affairs, Bruno Le Maire.

- On the Institutional front, Sarkozy gave Time to the Irish to think about it, and stroke on December a deal including a New Referendum after the June 2009 EU Elections, in exchange of a promise to keep the rule of "one EU Commissioner for each EU Member Country", and some opt-outs on Defence and Fiscal EU policies, Abortion, etc. If the Irish get a "Yes" Majority, then the institutional package could be completed in 2010 or 2011 on the occasion of Croatia's probable EU accession.

He was accused in Strasbourg to upgrade EU Council and downgrade EU Commision, but he replied that "strong Political initiatives by EU Council reinforce also the more technical role of EU Commission, under the political-technical leadership of its President", all 3 "working together with EU Parliament".


- But, meanwhile, Sarkozy energetically spearheaded an Historic 1st Summit of EuroZone's 15 Heads of State and Government at EU's core, exceptionally enlarged to a partial participation of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, on October 12 in Paris' Elysee palace, which started to tackle succesfully the growing world Financial crisis.

    It also paved the way for its endorsement by a subsequent Brussels' 27 EU Member States' gathering, before it all come to Washington's G-20 Summit. And "Europe was united, it asked for the 1st G-20 Summit, and it will also organise the next G-20 Summit on April in London", he observed.   

 But a Conference with EU, Russia, African and other Developing Countries, hosted in Strasbourg shortly after Washington G-20 Summit by the French EU Presidency, took a Resolution asking to enlarge participation to Global Economic Governance. Many found, indeed, illogic and unacceptable that f.ex. states as Turkey were given a seat at G-20 level, while all African Countries, and even the African Union itself, representing the greatest Continent on Earth, were excluded...


    Meanwhile, even USA''s "Paulson No 3" Plan, was, in fact, inspired by Europe's No 1 Plan", Sarkozy observed, largelly applauded by MEPs.

    And "Europe showed Solidarity" by mobilizing some 22 Billion credit for Hungary, 1,7 billion for Ukraine, as we do nowadays for Baltic States, etc., he added.

    The move on Economy was extended on December by an EU stimulus' plan totalling some 200 billion Euros, including 5 Billions released by EU Commission for big Projects, as well as various parallel National plans for Economic revival, (fex. 26 billions in France alone). They might appear limited, compared to USA President-elect Obama's reported plan to boost the American economy with 800 billion $, but at least succeded to overcome Europe's divisions for the first time on Economic governance, opening new horizons.

- The French President stressed even harder the unique role of an active EU Council's chairmanship, when he moved swiftly and efficiently, at the beginning of August, to succesfully stop War between Russia and Georgia, at the last minute, which threatened to bring Europe back to Cold War division.

"We (EU) also wanted to avoid a situation like in Bosnia, in the Past, when EU was absent, so that our American friends took their responsibilitues, and EU only followed", despite the fact that the conflict took place in Europe. Now, it was the EU who took its responsibilities".

A roadmap towards a new PanEuropean Security policy, before which all unilateral moves to place new Missiles (from USA or Russia) would be freezed, was proposed by Sarkozy after a meeting with Russian president Medvedev, at the eve of Washington DC's G-20 Summit.

Ukraine's "European" character was stressed at a Sarkozy - Jushenko Summit, September in Paris, while EU adopted on December an "Eastern policy", in which, "I'm convinced that our (EU's) future is to find with our Neighbours the conditions for Economic Development. Peace and Security, by explaining them that.. they must respect (Human Rights') Values, and adopt behaviors different from the Past", explained Sarkozy in Strasbourg.

Meanwhile, the "Union for the Mediterranean" was created, since July's Summit if 45 Heads of State and Government in Paris, as "an organisation for a permanent Dialogue, that we need", mainly in order to tackle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, by bringing together, for the 1st time, Israelis and Arabs, where "Europe must be present, in order to avoid a frontal clash".

- "If Europe doesn't take its part for Peace in the Middle-East, nobody else will do that in our place", Sarkozy stressed.
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    Meanwhile, other EU Agreements were brokered during the French EU Presidency on Immigration, (fex. common Asylum rules, etc), and Climat- Energy :

    - On Climat-Energy, the 2007 German EU Presidency had fixed a triple 20% aim for 2020 (20% renewable Energies, 20% reduction of CO2 emmission, 20% energy efficience/economies), and the 2008 French EU Presidecny realized that, making the necessary compromises in order to modernize EU's industry, but without throwing some former Central-Eastern European Countries into abrupt Economic break down risking "social explosion".

    - Defence-Security EU policy was mainly postponed for April 2009, since both German chancellor Merkel and French president Sarkozy want to strike a deal with the new American president Obama in Strasbourg's NATO Summit.

    However, with all these 4 unexpected Crisis diverting attention to other urgencies, People wil wonder now, what happened to the famous deal proposed by freshly-elected French President Sarkozy on Turkey's controversial EU bid, back on August 2007, to continue EU - Turkey negotiations, but on the double condition that core chapters, intrinsequally linked with EU Membership, will be excluded, and that a collective Reflexion and Debate on Europe's future would start before the end of 2008.

    It was meant to reply to the crucial question : What kind of Europe do we want in 10 or 20 Years from now : A large Market, or a Political Europe, with a popular identity ? In Sarkozy's thinking, presented in his 2 landmark speeches on Europe in Strasbourg, shortly before and after the 2007 Elections, (on February and July 2007), Turkey's controversial EU bid would be incompatible with the second choice.

    It's true that EU Commision's Chairman, Jose Barroso, (who had notoriously declared, as former Portuguese Prime Minister, that he found "nonsense" the idea that Europe might become equal to the US), had repeatedly tried to avoid that Sarkozy's criticism on Turkey might start winning a larger audience in Europe, preferring a discrete "wismens' committee" work. And that most of the personalities later chosen in order to participate in a Committee on Europe's Future, are too much linked with Socialist parties and/or American policies, to be really critical of USA's notorious wish to impose Turkey to the EU, as Sarkozy had noted himself since March 2007..

     - "It's on EU Council's presidency to take political initiatives. EU Commission has other competences", stressed Sarkozy. The "European Ideal" is to "build Europe with the States, not against them". "Ask Europeans to chose between their countries and Europe won't work. You don't choose between your two parents : We must add them together".

    "France and Germany have an Historic Duty to work together, precisely because of what happened to the Past. We have to work hand by hand. We cannot be separated.It goes beyond me and Mrs Merkel today, Mr Schroeder and Mr. Chirac yesterday. It's not a choice, it's a duty to Europe and to the World".  "We need Germany, as Germany needs Europe". Compromise is inevitable, here as everywhere, and each one made some steps towards eachother's positions.

    But "it's true that Mrs Merkel didn't chose her Socialist partners, while I chose mine", Sarkozy said, in an indirect hint that the Socialist Minister of Finance in Germany might be a cause of minor past disagreements in Economy, which were overcome in recent negotiations.

    "We (France and Germany) have particular duties in Europe", but "in a Europe of 27 Member States, it's not enough for France and Germany to agree between them.

    "I always thought that Great Britain has a special role to play in Europe. ... Now, everybody "saw what it cost payed the UK for having been too exclusively open towards the US (and) Financial services. Europe needs the UK, but also the UK needs Europe" :- "We were able to face the hardest moment of the Financial crisis because the UK clearly chose Europe", stressed Sarkozy, reminding Gordon Brown's exceptional participation to the Historic 1st Heads of State/Government Summit of EuroZone, October 12 in Paris (See EuroFora's Reportage from Elysee Palace then).

     - "Some look at Europe with old glasses aged 30 years ago. While we must look at her in relation to what it will be in 30 years" in the Future, Sarkozy concluded.

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