Greek presidency: nightmare or chance for renewal?

, by Alexandra Sideris, Styliani Kampani

Greek presidency: nightmare or chance for renewal?

Alea jacta est! The die has been cast, indeed. For the next months, the problematic child of Europe will serve as the chair of the Council of the European Union, determine its agendas, ameliorate inner dialogue amongst the Organisation’s organs and set work programmes. Three successive presidencies, known as presidency trios, cooperate for an 18-month period to provide continuity by sharing common political programmes. The 2013–2014 trio consists of Ireland (1 January – 30 June 2013), Lithuania (1 July – 31 December 2013) and Greece (1 January – 30 June 2014).

But truth be told, this presidency has been faced with controversial feelings. Most of the people show little to no interest about it or consider it a tragic irony. Some of them tried to express their demur with public demonstrations which were finally cancelled by the Greek State-the Police Headquarters actually. The participation of Europe in the troika committee has resulted to intolerable public wrath for the European Union as a whole. The so called optimists tend to believe that is going to be a “Brussels made’’ presidency and the pessimists express as main argument the following: despite the hopeful agenda that has been proclaimed from our PM, Mr. Samaras, the presidency will not be useful neither for us nor for EU, because Greece fails to tackle some internal issues of high importance. A usual example appeals to the feeling: the post-modern “hobos” rise with geometrical progress. We cannot secure employment (main cause for a series of social problems) for our own people, in which way will we fight youth unemployment in the Eurozone? How are we going to promote fishery without the necessary knowledge of environmentally friendly fishing techniques?

In other words, they maintain the reliance of a divided country. One part will perform its international task in a productive manner, but the other will have to keep finding new ways of ignoring the elephant in the room. To their support come a lot of distinguished media. With a lot of skepticism, they have criticized in a rather harsh way our presidency. Bitter comments for the costs of the opening ceremony, connotations for tax increases in order to ensure cash deposits.

The aforementioned express the majority of the Greek population. But, there is a minority who keeps on believing in change. Miracles, of course will not happen, unless we chase and organize them. This chance for re-organization not only of our profile but our temporary political beliefs couldn’t be any better. We will be hosting the presidency during the elections with the most important names of the day to run for the office. Our own, Alexis Tsipras is a candidate for the European Commission rendering the lights on the actuality of the Union once again. The constant information update has turned out to be efficient in the way of creating our main shortcoming during all these years, the European conscience. We used to resort to the Union only for assistance. Slowly but gradually, we realize the benefits. Facts like the Erasmus programme do reinforce the youth’s faith to the European Dream. Seminars about the benefits from the presidency are to be organized; public debates have and will be held.

Our main problem concerns our long routed perception of incapable institutions. We are the institution, we are the Union. Of course, problems do exist and need to be tackled but with no negativism. This is the challenge of this period; to change ourselves, and thus Europe.

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