THE yesterday’s presence and speech of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the European Parliament it was an appropriate but also an imperative action. After his highly symbolic and universally acclaimed speech to the US legislature, Congress, last May, the Prime Minister had to balance the corresponding impressions with a roughly corresponding speech of his to the legislature, the European Parliament. Contrary to what some people seem to believe, the European Parliament is today a real, genuine legislative body, co-legislator (with the Council of Ministers) in around 80% of the Union’s legislation. It has power and influence. Therefore, the Prime Minister responded correctly at the invitation of the President of the Authority, Roberta Metzola. After all, the president and the majority of the European Parliament are from the same political family as that of the Prime Minister and the ND – the largest People’s Party (EPP).
But contrary to the visionary speech of broader horizons in the Congress on the future of democracy, the speech of the Prime Minister in the European Parliament was basically Greek-centric. It mainly revolved around the achievements of the ND governance, the problems and challenges the country faces in the new geopolitics, with the (inevitable) denunciation of Turkey – its revisionist environment and aggression. There were fragmentary references in Europe, such as the need to strengthen its autonomy, its independence from Russia’s energy resources, etc. However, there was no presentation by the Prime Minister of a coherent “European plan” for the future of the Union à la Macron. It was an opportunity for Greece to appear with such a plan now that it is coming out of surveillance. Lost.
For the president of PASOK-KINAL, Nikos Androulakis, the presence of the Prime Minister in the European Parliament was a unique opportunity for a direct parliamentary confrontation with him. He does not, as is known, have such an opportunity in the Greek Parliament as he is not currently a member of it. N. Androulakis took advantage of the opportunity. He took over as the main speaker of the European Parliament “opposition” of the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) to respond to the Prime Minister. He answered without acrimony and strong criticism. He moved more in the five minutes he had at his disposal on the need to fight inequalities in Europe (logically) and on his favorite subject – the imposition of an arms embargo on Turkey. But after the recent decisions in the framework of NATO, the lifting of embargoes that worked in Sweden (and Finland), the commitment of Biden to sell F-16, how realistically possible is such a request? The Prime Minister reacting gave an answer roughly in the wording he used in Congress – “the countries that sell arms in the Eastern Mediterranean should take the situation there”. Erdogan’s reactions are expected…
The three-minute intervention of Dimitris Papadimoulis was an all-out attack on the government and the Prime Minister but, among other things, on an unfortunate day for this day, July 5, the seventh anniversary of the referendum (2015) that almost faced Greece outside the euro and EU maybe.
MEPs from other politics raised specific issues for which Greece is blamed, rejection of appeals, restrictions on freedom.
A discussion with a lot of Greece (justifiably) but little Europe (unfortunately). It would be interesting e.g. the Prime Minister to position himself on Weber’s (EPP) remark on the need to abandon unanimity in the CFSP. Do we agree?
Professor P.K. Ioakeimidis is a former ambassador – advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a member of the Advisory Committee of ELIAMEP. Last of the book: “Achievements and strategic mistakes of the post-colonial foreign policy” (published by Themelio)