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Home arrow newsitems arrow Strasbourg's f. MEP Samaras' win in Greek main opposition party ND may have EU impact on Spring 2010

Strasbourg's f. MEP Samaras' win in Greek main opposition party ND may have EU impact on Spring 2010

Written by ACM
Sunday, 29 November 2009

 

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The unexpectedly strong win on Sunday by a former Strasbourg's EU Parliament's EuroMP in the 1st popular elections for the new Leader of Greece's main opposition party, New Democracy (ND, center-right), may trigger far-reaching repercussions in Europe's present geo-political context, even before an important rendez-vous set for Spring 2010.

Antonis Samaras, an energetic outsider aged 58, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and EuroMP (2004-2007),  won a landslide victory versus several competitors, including the experienced former Foreign MInister and Mayor Dora Bakogiani, (daughter of former Prime Minister Mitsotakis), for the presidency of the ND party which governed Greece between 2004 and 2009 with Costas Caramanlis, before declaring unexpectedly early national elections last October and losing the government to the Socialist party PASOK, led by US-born George Papandreou, (who comes 3rd in a row of 3 Prime Ministers in 3 Generations in his family-tree).

Obviously inspired by the pre-electoral style of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Samaras, who cited explicitly German Chancelor Angie Merkel in his latest speech last Friday, 27/11/09, stressed that he wants to give "hope" to the People, stimulate a lively debate of "Ideas", make a "Democratic Revolution" against bureaucratic "Mecanisms" of old Systems, and succeed a "real Change" for "all the country", by a "rupture" vis a vis the establishment, in order to revitalize and renew a center-right popular movement able to attract citizens from a large political spectrum, but not afraid to clearly speak out on its values.

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This apparently stimulated grassroots' movemens and citizens all over the country, who rushed massivey to vote, surprising the system to the point that the electronic network broke down and organizers had to prolonge for hours the electoral process in order to give time to all voters to participate in the 1st ever election of ND's leader by its members and sympathizers, and not by the apparatus.

Earlier this week in Strasbourg, EU Parliament's 1st vice-President, ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Mrs Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou, openly endorsed Samaras candidacy, stressing that he was "able to combine (Greece's) national interests with European interests".

rodi

Rodi Kratsa, who had contributed also to a collective Think-tank for France's EU-¨Presidency in 2008, and had officially welcomed President Sarkozy at his 1st visit in EU Parliament as early as since November 2007c, speaking to "EuroFora" betore Samara's win, said that it was important to make good use of the short time available to clearly explain to the People Samara's candidacy through all available Media, (including Radios, Internet, etc).

Exceptionally, the campaign had also another Strasbourg's link at EU Parliament, since ND's new EuroMP, Georges Cumutsakos, as he said to "EuroFora", had to share his time between EU votes and debates, and his duties as ND's Spokesman, obliged to reply to several questions and make statements on the way this unprecedented electoral process was going on..

An obvious point of EU interest is that Samaras, who is generally considered as more critical on Turkey than his predecessor, (unwilling, unable or hindered to really change PASOK's former policy in favor of Ankara), may add a new potential ally to French President Sarkozuchy and German Chancellor Merkel's well known opposal to Turkey's controversial, expensive and unpopular EU bid : Recently, they seem to focus much more on strict respect of EU's conditions, and Samaras' Greece could certainly be able to provide France and Germany many rock-solid reasons, such as Turkish Mlitary Airplanes' overflights of the Aegean Sea (sometilmes even deadly), oppression of Christian Minorities' Human Rights, Cyprus, etc.

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(1st EU Parliament's vice-President Rodi Kratsa Photo welcomes French President Sarkozy at his 1st visit at EU Parliament, οn November 2007, together with former EU Parliament's President Poettering)

As far as Government is concerned, a crucial Rendez-vous is March 2010, because, according to the Greek Constitution, a new President of the Republic has to be elected by a 2/3rds Majority of MPs. The current PASOK Government lacking such a majority, if it doesn't agree with Samara's ND on a common candidate, it could be obliged to dissolve the Parliament and declare new elections, according to the rules. If Samaras' ChristianDemocrat/EPP party wins such national elections on Spring 2010, while both Sarkozy and Merkel still have a strlyong political mandate, then, many things may hapen next...

But even independenty of such a scenario, the current Prime Minister, Georges Papandreou (also well-known in Strasbourg since he had chaired the CoE as former Minister for EU affairs, as early as back since 1998), who already has to fight a hard struggle to defend the country's Economy from heavy Debts coming mainly from the Past Decades during which his own party, PASOK, holded the Government, could not totally ignore a "strong criticism", as Samaras has promised, from the main opposition party ND, particularly if it is based on new ideas which could become very popular.

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Sarkozy and Merkel want deals with Obama on European Security at Strasbourg's NATO 2009 Summit

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In parallel but concording moves, EU Chair, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angie Merkel both invited this week US-President elect, Barack Obama, to discuss important deals breaking new ground on European Security during the NATO's 60 Years Anniversary Summit of Heads of State in Strasbourg, where Obama is expected to make his 1st visit to Europe as a President on April 2009.

Merkel focused mainly on smoother NATO - EU Defence and Security policy cooperation, while Sarkozy spoke about PanEuropean Security, associating both Russia and the USA, proposing to freeze missile and shields' deployement until an agreement is reached.

But both tackled some hard nuts to crack : Turkey's VETO against the participation of EU Member Cyprus to EU-NATO cooperation, and Russia's anouncement on deployment of missiles up to Kaliningrad, at EU's belly, in reply to USA's wish to set up missile shields in EU States such as Poland or Czech Republic, etc.


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- "Certainly...one of the points that we'll dicuss with the New US President", Barak OBAMA, "who will come f'or the 1st time in Europe as president, at the NATO Summit", co-hosted by France and Germany in Strasbourg, ""concerns, above all, the European Security and Defence Policy" (ESDP), and "the relations between NATO and its partners", with whom it should "work together", anounced earlier this week Merkel.

We must find "a reasonable and adequate concept to articulate NATO and European Security and Defense policy", because of a "series of practical issues, sometimes difficult to understand", but that "we must discuss".

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- "An example" of that is "the issue of Cyprus and Turkey", said Merkel, where Ankara raises problems "from Kosovo up to Afghanistan", as also CoE's chair, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt recently observed in Strasbourg replying to EuroFora's questions.

- "We must do something to smoothen this problem for good, and not only on a case-by-case basis, laboriously negotiated each time". Here, we must find "a reasonable and adequate concept to articulate NATO and European Security and Defense policy", Merkel stressed.

- "With good will from all sides, it could and should be posible. Germany wants also to help on that". Otherwise, "the coming generations will not understand why it took Decades to do so". But, if we "don't even achieve that for Decades, this would be an Historic Failure !", the German Chancellor warned

- "I think that our American partners are increasingly realizing that", Merkel said, pleading for "a stronger European Security and Defence policy, with which, I believe, the Atlantic Security Partnership can also strengthen and solidify".

Meanwhile, USA is also due to take in 2009 a special status inside EU-led EUROCORPS, the European Army HeadQuarters, based in Strasbourg.

Merkel said that after meeting in Berlin with NATO's Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, earlier this week, precisely in order to "prepare NATO's Summit", scheduled for the beginning of April 2009 in Strasbourg.

Scheffe, knows well Strasbourg, since he chaired the CoE, as Holland's Foreign Minister, when he brokered a controversial deal precisely on Turkey and Cyprus about the implementation of ECHR judgements on Greek Cypriot displaced persons' houses and properties in 2003. He returned later at least once, for a WEO meeting at the CoE, where he precisely had highlighted such EU - NATO issues.

EU Commission's 2008 Report on Turkey has just observed that, on European Defense - Security policy, "Turkey continues to object to EU-NATO Cooperation which would involve all EU Member States". "This created Problems for EU-NATO co-operation in the context of Civilian ESDP missions, in particular in Kosovo and Afghanistan".
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 French EU Chair, President Sarkozy and Merkel are visiting Washington on Friday and Saturday for a Global G-20 Summit with current US President George Bush, on the sidelines of which are expected preparatory contacts with US President-elect Obama's entourage, even if himself might stay in Chicago until he takes over on January 21.

Before going to Washington, Sarkozy concluded today an UE - Russia Summit with Dmitry Medvedev, where they "spoke in length on PanEuropean Security" :

- As EU President, I proposed that we meet on mid-2009 in a framework such as OSCE's in order to set the foundations of a Future Pan-European Security, which would associate Russia and USA, and that, meanwhile, nobody speaks about deploying missiles or shields, which complicate the situation".

- NATO's Summit in Strasbourg-Kehl, on April 2009 is a perfect occasion to discuss with our American friends and to prepare a possible OSCE Summit for these issues f.ex. for June or July", Sarkozy concluded.

- We must all abstain from Unilateral measures" dangerous for Europe's security. "Russia only reacted to decisions taken by some other countries. But if they are ready to cooperate, we are ready to discuss. EU could be an intermediary", added Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, before going himself too at the Washington G-20 Economic Summit.

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