Monday, August 24, 2015

Europe's migrant crisis, needs an immediate and united response.
For the past few weeks we have witnessed an unprecedented humanitarian crisis overwhelming Europe.

Thousands of refugees are arriving wave upon wave on European shores in the Mediterranean. People fleeing from war torn regions, mainly from the Middle East, are trying to find shelter in rich European nations.

For these migrants, it is either flee or die. Their sheer numbers are challenging our continent's ability to respond, plus it poses a hot topic for a debate.

The phenomenon is not new; in fact it has been increasingly worsening for the past few years. But while in the past it was mainly Italy, Spain, Malta and Greece that bared the bulk of refugee numbers, today we observe every single European nation being affected by it.

Just over the weekend, thousands of refugees were pushed back by police in FYROM, on the country's borders with Greece. Bulgaria, Slovakia, Hungary are also finding themselves being overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of people entering their borders, with mixed responses.

But even countries away from Europe's doorstep are being affected. The French port of Calais has become a hot-spot in the continent's migrant crisis, since thousands are arriving in the region trying to enter illegally in the UK.

Europe has been very slow to respond until now, simply because the problem affected predominantly the southern bordering states. In addition to this, the numbers of the refugees were lower plus many of them were falsely categorized as economic migrants from Africa.

Only recently EU members have agreed to share he load of refugees that were entering Europe via Greece and Italy, after many failed attempts to reach to an agreement. In mid-August the process has started, yet the negotiations exposed the cracks in European "unity".

The EU has proposed a quota system, backed by southern nations, which would see other EU nations commit to resettle a certain number of refugees who arrive in Mediterranean countries. 

The plan, however, has met with resistance from some countries, including the U.K. and Germany. They have resisted the idea of mandatory quotas, arguing that refugees should not be sent to countries in which they may not want to live.

As negotiations took place in early July, Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi lashed out at fellow EU leaders for rejecting the quotas, and accused his peers of looking after only their own interests. (International Business Times).

"If that's your idea of Europe, you can keep it," Renzi told his counterparts. "Either give us solidarity or don't waste our time," according to Australia's ABC News

This reaffirms the weakness of Europe, which is placing national interests above the urgency in finding a solution on European level. There has been a cacophony of responses to a problem that affects everyone in Europe; rich nations and poor, EU members or not, transition states or destination ones. 

The Hungarian government decided to build a wall on its borders with Serbia to prevent refugees "pouring in". Slovakia announced that it won't accept non Christian refugees, as "it has no mosques". 

Other countries like Bulgaria and Hungary opted our from the EU's refugee distribution plan, while the UK is still reluctant to decisively cooperate fully with the rest of the continent on the issue.

It is evident that Europe should have formed a joined policy for such humanitarian crises, since the phenomenon is not new. Ever since the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, or later the Arab Spring, the rise of ISIL or even the war in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea by Russia, Europe should have been prepared; but it is not.

It is understandable that our continent is yet to recover by the economic crisis, plus many states are seeing a rise of Far Right and nationalist parties as result. A situation that naturally creates difficulties when dealing with issues such immigration.

But that is why sharing the responsibility, either it is financial or humanitarian one, must become a norm among European states. Since the situation is too much for one country to handle and since we are all affected by the crisis, then it deeper cooperation would seem sensible, if not inevitable.

What we have instead is European governments trying to deal with the issue as economic migration; which is not. Besides even if it was, the response should have also been a unanimous one. By establishing EU job centers in the countries of origins of the migrants, Europe should encourage legal migration and discouraging illegal one.

Potential migrants would be assessed in these centers and be given visas to work legally in the EU, in the state that required their skills and needed workers for a agreed amount of time. Since our continent is one of the richest regions of the world, it inevitably attracts migrants from less affluent regions.
Yet the recent arrivals are not in their majority economic migrants. They are fleeing war torn regions, or brutal regimes like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan in a desperate effort to save their lives.

It is inevitable that Europe will be affected one way or the other for many years to come. 

The longer we prolong our response, the worse the situation will become. And we must help these people for many reasons. 

Firstly Europe prides itself of being a beacon of stability, prosperity, peace and foreign aid. Secondly because in past times, it was Europeans who were fleeing their countries after the devastating World Wars.

And lastly, we must not forget that our leaders decided to side with USA in toppling leaders in the Middle East, changing the status-quo and tilting the balance of power. The result of our decision to meddle in the region's affairs, was the creation of  radical Islamist groups that were successful in establishing themselves in the area.

The threat of ISIL reaching its goal and becoming a major power in the region is very real. The result will mean that the phenomenon of migration into Europe won't stop any time soon. This group is committing an ethnic cleansing it is effort to gain more land and power from other nations in the region.

If Europe wants to deal with the issue it has only two options; either agree on how to deal with the refugees and cooperate as a continent, or engage fully in a war against ISIL and try to destroy them. Something that the radical Islamist group seems to desperately want to achieve and Europe tries to avoid.

As long as there is no peace in Middle East, the numbers of the refugees will keep growing and coming. Europe must decide how to deal with the issue,or with ISIL. It can not hide its head in the sand and hoping that the problem will just go away.

A war hides many dangers, as Europe risks to look like a colonial power again and create a rift with all Muslim countries, permanently damaging its image and relations with these nations. Unless of course it decides to cooperate with other Islamic nations that are also fighting ISIL and were until now black-listed by Europe; like Iran and the Assad regime in Syria.

Since there is little will to engage in a war as a continent with the radical Islamists, then the other solution is to try and deal with the refugee crisis. All European nations must cooperate and form a united response to the problem.

Set up refugee welcome camps all over Europe, while sharing their number and the financial responsibility to accommodate them. Agree on the creation of a policy that will ensure either their integration in our countries, or gradual repatriation once the threat is over in theirs. Our continent must prepare for the future.

It is not necessary that they will stay in Europe for good, at least not all of them. Yet we do have the moral obligation to be part of the solution. 

We have far more resources than nations like Turkey, Lebanon or Jordan, which have been dealing with the problem for far longer than us. We should also try to reach into agreements for help and cooperation with other rich regions of the world, engaging them and ensuring a global response to the crisis. 

The problem is real and growing. Europe has the responsibility to act, both towards its own citizens and the refugees. If the situation continues without being properly dealt, it poses a major security threat for all European nations and a potential cause for social arrest and instability. It has simply passed the decision time and it needs urgently action. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Information on the European Economic and Social Committee.


The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) was established by the Treaty of Rome in 1957. 
Its main function is to serve as a bridge between Europe and organised civil society, therefore allowing for the representation of various economic and social interest groups. 
The EESC contributes to strengthening the democratic legitimacy of the EU as it is the only EU body made up of citizens and not politicians.


The EESC gives Europe’s social and economic groups a platform to express their points of view on EU issues. The main task of the EESC is to offer opinions and advise the main legislative and executive institutions of the EU; the European Parliament, The Council of the European Union and the European Commission.
In certain cases, it is mandatory procedure for the Commission or the Council to consult the EESC. Additionally, the EESC may also adopt positions on its own initiative. The Amsterdam Treaty (1997) further broadened the areas for referral to the Committee, and allows it to be consulted by the European Parliament. The Committee issues around 170 opinions annually, of which 15% are issued on its own initiative.

Make-up of the EESC

There are 353 committee members representing 28 Member States including 9 positions for Irish representatives. These members are nominated by their respective Member State governments, and then appointed by the Council. Once appointed, these representatives act independently of their national governments. They have a renewable term of office of five years.
Every two and a half years the Committee elects a President and two Vice Presidents. The current president is Henri Malosse from France and his vice-presidents are Jane Morrice and Hans Joachim Wilms from the United Kingdom and Germany respectively. The president is responsible for the orderly conduct of the Committee’s business. He is assisted by the vice-presidents, who deputize for him in the event of his absence.
The Committee is organised into six sections, each one dealing with a specific policy area.
  • Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment (NAT)
  • Economic and Monetary Union and Economic and Social Cohesion (ECO)
  • Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship (SOC)
  • External Relations (REX)
  • The Single Market, Production and Consumption (INT)
  • Transport, Energy, Infrastructure and the Information Society (TEN)
Furthermore members are split into general groups within the EESC depending on their foremost activities. There are 3 groups
  • Employers – consisting of members coming from the private and public sectors of industry.
  • Employees – representing all categories of employees. The members of this group represent national trade union organisations.
  • Various Interests Group – Bringing together representatives from sectors of economic, social and civil life that are not covered by the first two groups.
As a rule, the full Committee meets in plenary session nine times a year. At the plenary sessions, opinions are adopted on the basis of section opinions by a simple majority. They are forwarded to the institutions and published in the Official Journal of the European Union.
This article was originally published on the European Movement of Ireland 's "Just the Facts" web-page!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Greece's failure, Europe's shame!
After 5 years being in the media spotlight for its economic woes, the Greek drama reached finally-or hopefully- its crescendo.

Lat week on early Thursday hours, the Greek Parliament approved the new bitter austerity measures, to ensure a new bail-out package.

The decision naturally caused an outrage among the people of Greece and Europe.

Just days before the Greeks were called to vote in a referendum. Its purpose was to decide if they would accept their country's European partners' demands for further austerity, in exchange for a third bail-out.

However, the European establishment warned-or rather threatened- the Greeks, that the outcome would determine the continuation of the country's euro-zone membership. Initially the referendum was not meant to be about a YES or NO to euro membership; the Greeks have repeatedly expressed their wish to remain in Europe's single currency.

But Greece's European partners in their desperation to ensure a continuation of it's austerity program, proceeded in totally unacceptable threats. They were undermining Greece's democratic process, purely to protect their financial interests.

With the excuse that the previous governments signed for the previous bailout deals, the Troika and the Eurogroup are demanding the continuation of a program which even the IMF admitted they got wrong.

Greece's debt became unsustainable. The second and third bailouts are needed only to pay off the interests of the first, plus the damage that it did in the country's economy. Instead of a renegotiation, a partial debt relief and a new plan to kick-start an economic recovery, Greece's creditors insist on further austerity and the diminution of the Greek public's living standards.

Austerity does not help reforms in Greece. It impoverishes ordinary Greeks and helps radical parties become established. Greece needs growth stimulus in return for structural reforms. It does not need Europe's money in the form of bailouts, which end up in Greek and thus European banks. 

European investments are needed to create jobs and lift Greek people out of poverty, in combination with structural reforms and modernization of the country's economy.

So why is Europe insisting on such disastrous policy for Greece, is it perhaps because the whole European economy is in tatters? Possibly other euro-zone member states are keen on having a steady flow of cash into their economies, in the form of the interest that the Greeks pay on their loans.

The German economy for example has benefited hugely from the Greek loan repayments and as it is one of Greece's main creditors, it is also one of the main beneficiaries from the whole situation. It is no wonder that Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, has adopted such a hard-line position towards Greece, refusing a debt relief.

This is a sign that the EU has lost its original purpose. The Eurogroup, an informal body comprised by all euro-zone member states, is dominated by the "vision" of just one country's minister of finance.

In an interview in the New Statesman magazine, the former Greek Finance Minister explains how Mr Schaeuble controls the decisions taken in the Eurogroup. In addition he describes the utterly disgraceful demeanor of Greece's European partners, towards him and his government.

"It’s not that it didn’t go down well – it’s that there was point blank refusal to engage in economic arguments. Point blank. … You put forward an argument that you’ve really worked on – to make sure it’s logically coherent – and you’re just faced with blank stares. It is as if you haven’t spoken. What you say is independent of what they say. You might as well have sung the Swedish national anthem – you’d have got the same reply. And that’s startling, for somebody who’s used to academic debate. … The other side always engages. Well there was no engagement at all. It was not even annoyance, it was as if one had not spoken".

Not that Mr. Varoufakis himself or Syriza, do not have a fair share of blame; but at least he had the decency of resigning, something that Mr Schaeuble has not yet the backbone to do. Greece and the Syriza government have made huge concessions to their creditors, only to be met with irrational hostility by them, under the excuse of lack or "trust".

In reality, Syriza in in power for just 6 months. The lack of trust the Europeans are insisting on, is deriving from the previous governments that they supported and they still wish to re-establish.

Under such negative climate and scaremongering, the Greek referendum result was of course a NO. Prior the election date, there was a different rally daily.One day Greece's main cities were hosting a demonstration supporting a YES vote, the next supporting NO. Political TV spots became very common, alongside numerous televised political debates.

Never was the country so divided, since the devastating civil war. Businessmen and wealthy individuals openly supported a YES vote. Business is easier within the euro-zone and ensuring Greece's membership was a priority for the country's elites.

On the other hand, public sector employees, lower class and working middle class or pensioners were strongly supporting a NO vote. They are the least flexible and competitive groups, that are opposing change and reforms.

A major role in the defeat of a YES vote was the fact that the Greeks did not wish to return to pro-austerity governments. Many analysts believe that the voters voted NO, because they did not want the former New Democracy leader and Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras to return in power. 

A YES vote could have led to a crumbling of the SYRIZA government and a return of the New Democracy. So the fact that Mr. Samaras made the mistake not to resign as the New Democracy leader, after he lost the general elections in February, may have contributed to the referendum result.

Well that what's happens, when personal egos and ambitions are stronger than democratic legitimacy. European leaders such as Samaras or Schaeuble, do not want to admit defeat or that they made a mistake. Instead they wish to remain in power, while it is obvious that the people do not want them.

With a majority of 61%, the ΝΟ side the Greeks made it clear to Europe that they do not want any more austerity. They also made a point that with threats you do not win and that they have no place in a democracy; as Greece and Europe itself pride themselves of being.
Despite all this, Europe ignored the result of the referendum and continued its financial strangulation of Greece and the Syriza government. 

They had the ECB turning the cash tap off for the indebted country, thus forcing Syriza to proceed to capital controls for Greece's banks, further damaging its economy. 

People could only withdraw €60 per day from ATMs. Pensioners were particularly hit as most of them do not hold bank cards. 

Cash became scarce within the Greek market. Employees could not be paid and even online orders could not be made with Greek credit cards. Companies were not able placing orders to import goods from abroad. Trade within Greece also became difficult, as nobody had enough cash to purchase necessary quantities. 

The tourism industry was severely hit, as people were afraid to spend and travel. In addition foreign visitors were cancelling their reservations in fear of becoming stranded and without cash, during the Greek tourism high season.

Is that how Europe wants to help Greece and its economy to recover? Could they at least have the decency to admit that their interests are anything but for the interests of the Greek people? European leaders want to punish Syriza or make sure that this leftist government collapses so others won't spring up across Europe. 

Yet they are missing the forest while looking for the tree. Europe and the euro, as well as the fortunes of the people of the continent cannot be hijacked by personal aspirations, ideologies and interests. 

Syriza came in power and it might soon go, but so will Chancellor Merkel or Mr. Schaeuble. Yet their current actions will have an impact on millions of Europeans for decades to come. What will be their legacy in the future generations of Europe?

Monday, June 22, 2015

USA:When the model of Western societies, fails.
For decades the United States of America has been promoting itself as a country of equality, opportunities for all and as a model for the rest of the Western world.

In the recent years though, I am not so sure that USA can claim the role of the leader in our hemisphere,or that it can expect the rest of us to follow its example.

During the past years, a disturbing and shameful phenomenon has been increasingly becoming an occurrence; young African Americans have been shot or brutally killed by US police.

Ever since February 2012 and the death of Trayvon Martin, who was shot by neighborhood watch coordinator George Zimmerman, about 16 more black Americans were killed in similar way.

The latest case was of Freddie Gray from Baltimore in April 2015, who fell into a coma after sustaining injuries to his spinal cord, due to police violence during his arrest.

This incident led to the Baltimore Riots, a protest and response towards police brutality. As have numerous other incidents before, like these in Ferguson-Missouri, which saw a repetitive wave of violence as result.

These deaths of course are only the tip of the ice-berg. The United States of America is not the country that it wants to believe it is anymore; at least not for its African American citizens.

Discrimination, lack of equal opportunities and alienation is the reality for a large number of black youths in the US. Their government has failed them, as it prefers to waste money on wars abroad, instead of investing in projects that will promote equality.

In some other cases, African American criminality is being exaggerated or distorted, as the American discourse on crime is deeply politicized and influenced by racial and class bias. (AlterNet)

Often the number of criminal activities that are attributed to black Americans are overestimated, as the above article in AlterNet describes. Resulting of course in further discrimination and stereotyping.

The United States often lectured Europe on what type of society it should aspire to become. They actively promoted and encouraged multiculturalism in our continent and elsewhere, human rights, freedom of speech, liberalizations and privatizations.

All of the American values became eventually and gradually European as well. As result, our continent is increasingly becoming a multicultural continent, that resembles more and more the USA.

But what aspirations is America giving Europe now? That it has to allow millions of non-Europeans to legally become citizens of a unified continent, only to be treated as second class citizens and be discriminated against by the very state they were born in?

Will Europe adopt the exact model of America, or will it be capable to avoid its closest ally mistakes and shortcomings?

If African Americans still struggle to achieve justice and equality centuries later after the creation of their motherland, what chances have the more recent arrivals in Europe from other continents to achieve these?

It is evident that the struggles of some people for equality in USA have not ended. Europe's closest ally resembles progressively Hans Christian Andersen's story, the Emperor's New Clothes.

Everybody is aware what is going on, but they just don't dare to express their honest view because well, it is the emperor and it can't be criticized by his subjects!

If America wants to lecture Europe and the rest of the world on freedom, democracy and equality, it better show a better image of itself to us. Plus it needs to start looking after its own citizens and internal problems first.

In an ever changing world, they can not rely on their military might for too long, to promote their model of society and ideology on others. They need to start aspiring their values to the rest of us, just like they did decades ago.

Obviously it is not just Europe who is suffering from a crisis of values and direction, together with an economic, political and social crisis. America has its own demons to face still.

It would be of a great benefit to people of both sides of the Atlantic, to get to know their weaknesses and mistakes. Learn from and help each other, to avoid repeating the same errors.

For that we need a closer cooperation, but not solely on a business level that our elites are insisting. We need to start engaging social groups from both sides, to teach one another about integration, social justice and equality.

If Europe is to become like the USA, then I am not sure I want to live in any sort of federal political or economic formation, in which minority groups are treated like the African Americans nowadays.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Luxembourgian blow to pan-EU citizenship voting rights.
On June the 7th, another referendum took place in Europe; this time in the small state of Luxembourg.

Just like the recent Irish referendum on same sex marriage, the Luxembourgian vote could influence the continent's future policies.

Well over 70 percent of the Luxembourgians, voted against granting foreigners the right to vote.

Only around 22 percent of voters supported foreigner voting rights. The result was met with surprise, after final opinion polls carried out earlier this year had seen 42 percent in favor versus 48 percent against, leading many to predict a narrow outcome on the question. (Luxembourger Wort)

The referendum was called by liberal Prime Minister Xavier Bettel as part of his modernizing agenda for the grand duchy.

"There is no other European country where only 40 percent of the population elects its representatives," he stated.

About 46 percent of the country's total population of 565,000 are foreigners, with 16.4 percent being Portuguese, followed by French nationals at seven percent, Italians at 3.5 percent, Belgians at 3.3 percent and Germans at 2.3 percent. Non-European foreigners account for a further seven percent.

A majority for "Yes" would have seen all foreigners who had lived in the country for more than 10 years given full voting rights (Deutsche Welle).

Such outcome would have positively influenced European politics and societies as whole. With the free movement of people being one of our fundamental rights as EU citizens, our nations are increasingly becoming multicultural.

Many of the EU migrants settle for good in their adopted countries, pay taxes, invest or open new businesses, constructively contributing to their economies and societies.

Wouldn't it make sense then, to extend full voting rights to people who are legally and permanently residing in a country for the past 10 years?

"No taxation without representation," was a slogan once used during the 1750's and the American Revolution for independence from the British Crown. Yet somehow it sounds so relevant still, in modern Europe.

Immigrants contribute in every aspect of a country's society. Apart from economic advantages, they could also bring cultural or social and even -most importantly- political ones.

Native voters have often a very conservative point of view, regarding their nation's politics. Many have formed a nepotistic relationship with many local or national politicians, while others vote for a particular party after following "traditional" family political lines. 

Under such practices, change and reforms are frequently hard to achieve. Immigrants that are well integrated in a society can offer a new outlook to the country's political and social issues. 

They could shake up or help reshape the political landscape of a nation, since they have a slight different mentality and point of view than the native population. 

Given the fact that after 10 years residing in a country, they must have a fair amount of knowledge of national or local politics, they can constructively help ending economic monopolies or political stalemates; if only they are given the voice.

And maybe that is why most EU nations avoid giving their immigrants political rights. Europe is still a very conservative continent and the economic crisis has made things even worse.

The past few years we have witnessed a rise of xenophobia, euro-skepticism,  nationalism and Far Right political parties, in most EU states.

But Europeans must realize, that progress will never come if we remain conservative; we are only safeguarding certain national elites' interests, while ours as citizens are being diminished. 

In an increasingly changing and developing world, Europe can not remain conventional. The globe is not what it used to be and our continent is being diversified rapidly; economically, socially, politically and culturally.

We must adapt with the changes, while creating a more equal and fair European society for all its inhabitants, either they are native or not.

Sadly Europeans still prefer to live in societies strictly dominated by an ethnic dominant group, with more rights than for any of the minorities.

Luxembourg is only showcasing the failure of Europe as a whole, to create a truly integrated, equal, modern, open minded and dynamic continent. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Καιρός είναι η Ελληνική ηγεσία να δείξει σεβασμό πρός τον λαό που την ψηφίζει.
Πρόσφατα ο πρώην Υπουργός Εξωτερικών Θεόδωρος Γ. Πάγκαλος, άσκησε δριμήτατη επίθεση κατά του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ, αλλά και του Ελληνικού λαού.

Σε δηλώσεις του, ο κύριος Πάγκαλος υποστήριξε ότι «οι δημόσιοι υπάλληλοι κατέλαβαν το κράτος και ασκούν μια δικτατορία πάνω στους Έλληνες που εργάζονται».

Για τον ελληνικό λαό, δικαιολογώντας το ότι επί κυβερνήσεων ΠΑΣΟΚ δεν εφαρμόστηκαν οι αρχές που είχε διακηρύξει ο Ανδρέας Παπανδρέου, ανέφερε πως αυτό συνέβη γιατί «ο ελληνικός λαός είναι διεφθαρμένος. Ο ελληνικός λαός θέλει ρουσφέτια, θέλει διορισμούς, θέλει να μην εργάζεται. Θέλει να κλέβει τους φόρους και να μην αποδίδει τον ΦΠΑ».

Παράλληλα, εξέφρασε την έντονη διαφωνία του για την στοχοποίηση των ξένων, όπως ο Γιούνκερ, η Λαγκάρντ και η Μέρκελ και συμπλήρωσε: «Βάλαμε κάτω τους Γερμανούς και 70 χρόνια μετά τη λήξη του Β’ Παγκοσμίου πολέμου, θυμηθήκαμε το ναζιστικό παρελθόν τους». 

«Εγώ δεν λέω να μη κάνουμε κριτική στους Γερμανούς, αλλά τι είναι αυτό που τώρα θυμηθήκαμε ξαφνικά, το Δίστομο και όλα τα’ άλλα, επειδή τους χρωστάμε λεφτά. Δηλαδή τώρα ο εγγονός ενός Γερμανού οφείλει κάποια λεφτά στο γιο μου». (

Τα σχόλια του κυρίου Πάγκαλου, είναι σκανδαλώδη ακριβώς επειδή διετέλεσε Υπουργός Εξωτερικών στο παρελθόν.

Εάν πολιτικοί που εκλέγουμε να μας εκπροσωπούν στην διεθνή διπλωματία, έχουν τέτοια γνώμη για εμάς και την μεταφέρουν και στο εξωτερικό, τότε υπάρχει καμία αμφιβολία γιατί οι Ευρωπαίοι εταίροι έχουν μια αρνητικότατη εικόνα για την χώρα μας?

Αυτό που κάνει ακόμα πιο εξοργιστηκό τις δηλώσεις Πάγκαλου, είναι το γεγονός ότι ο πρώην υπουργός και οι όμοιοι του, υπήρξαν πάντα μέρος του προβλήματος στην Ελλάδα. Για 40 χρόνια η χώρα μας κυβερνήθηκε από το ΠΑΣΟΚ και την Νέα Δημοκρατία. 

Εάν αυτές οι κυβερνήσεις που ο κύριος Παγκαλος διατέλεσε ως υπουργός και υψηλό στέλεχος, δεν προώθησαν το είδους των μεταρρυθμίσεων που χρειάζονταν η Ελλάδα ώστε να καταπολεμηθεί ο νεποτισμός, η διαθφορά και φοροδιαφυγή, απο ποιούς να περιμέναμε να προβούν σε μεταρρυθμίσεις? 

Από τους αγρότες και τους συνταξιούχους ίσως? Ή μήπως έπρεπε να λάβουν δράση η οι φοιτητές για να καταπολεμηθεί η γραφειοκρατία?

Ο λαός μας έχει την παροιμία οτι το ψάρι βρωμάει απο το κεφάλι. Αυτό σημαίνει ότι αν οι προηγούμενες κυβερνήσεις είχαν την ικανότητα να πατάξουν την γραφειοκρατία και την φοροδιαφυγή συν να εκμοντερνίσουν την χώρα θα το κάνανε, οπως το κατάφεραν ως ενα βαθμό άλλες χώρες.

Αν ο κύριος Πάγκαλος πιστεύει οτι ο Έλληνας είναι τεμπέλης, τότε στο εξωτερικο γιατί δεν κοιτάει το βόλεμα, αλλά εργάζεται σκληρά και πετυχαίνει; Ίσως επειδή το σύστημα των άλλων κρατών του το επιτρέπει και επιβραβεύει την σκληρή δουλειά του? 

Μήπως στην Ελλάδα το σύστημα που οι κυβερνήσεις του ΠΑΣΟΚ/ΝΔ ενθάρρυναν και καλλιέργησαν, ενισχύουν τον νεποτισμό και την διαφθορά, ώστε να σιγουρέψουν την εξάρτηση του Ελληνικού λαού από τα κόμματα αυτα? Μετατρέποντας φυσικά την χώρα σε μια ολιγαρχία, παρά σε μια μοντέρνα δημοκρατία.

Εάν δεν έχεις "μεσο" στην Ελλάδα ή διασυνδέσεις, ανέλκεσαι δυσκολότερα στον επαγγελματικό τομέα, αυτό είναι η αλήθεια. Ευκαιρίες για εργασία ολοένα και σπανίζουν ενώ η γραφειοκρατεία είναι τόσο εκτεταμένη, που κάθε απόπειρα για ένα ξεκίνημα μιας καινοτομικής ιδέας στον επιχειρηματικό χώρο συναντάται από ναρκοπέδια κρατικής παρέμβασης και προστατευτισμού.

Και ο κύριος Πάγκαλος νομίζει ότι για αυτό ευθύνεται ο απλός Ελληνικός λαός! Θα έπρεπε να ντρέπεται λογικά αλλά από ότι ήδη γνωρίζουμε, πολιτικοί σαν και αυτόν δεν διαθέτουν την οποιαδήποτε ευαισθησία η ντροπή.

Ζώ τα τελευταία 11 χρόνια στην Ιρλανδία, και αυτο που εχω μάθει απο τους Ιρλανδους ειναι οτι αγαπούν την πατρίδα τους και της κανουν τις καλύτερες δημόσιες σχέσεις. Δεν βγάζουν ολα τα κακώς κείμενα προς τα εξω, ουτε χαρακτηρίζουν συνέχεια αρνητικά την χωρα τους. 

Ισως γι'αυτό καταφέρνουν να προσελκύσουν πολλές επενδύσεις στην Ιρλανδία. Πως περιμένεις κάποιος να επενδύσει στην χωρα σου, οταν εσυ ως υπουργός βρίζεις και μειώνεις τον λαό σου, αποκαλώντας τον τεμπέλη και διεφθαρμένο! Ποιος θα ερθει να ανοίξει επιχείρηση στην Ελλάδα με τέτοιους πολιτικούς και ηγέτες; 

Ενώ οι Ιρλανδοί, παρόλα τα προβληματα που έχουν στην κοινωνία τους, αυτοαποκαλούνται ως η καλύτερη μικρή χώρα που μπορεί να ζεί κανείς. Αυτό το όραμα έχουν για την πατρίδα τους και αυτο το μύνημα προσπαθούν να περάσουν προς τα εξω.

Και το έχουν καταφέρει ως ενα βαθμό. Εμείς αντίθετα έχουμε μάθει να αποκαλούμε την χωρα μας "μπουρδέλο", ενώ εμάς τους ίδιους τεμπέληδες και διεφθαρμένους. Υπαρχει λοιπόν η οποιαδήποτε αμφιβολία γιατί αυτή την πατρίδα έχουμε καταφέρει να δημιουργήσουμε και γιατί αυτό έχουμε πείσει όλον τον κόσμο οτι ειμαστε;

Φυσικά μόνο οι δημόσιες σχέσεις δεν θα φέρουν επενδύσεις στην Ελλάδα, χρειάζονται να γίνουν και οι απαραίτητες μεταρρυθμίσεις. Αλλά για αυτό χρειαζόμαστε μια ικανή κυβέρνηση με όραμα, και όχι αλαζόνες, ολιγάρχες πολιτικούς με χαμηλότατο ήθος όπως ο κύριος Πάγκαλος.

Το μεγαλύτερο ίσως λάθος των Ελλήνων, είναι ότι για χρόνια ψήφιζαν πολιτικούς σαν τον Πάγκαλο και τους εμπιστευόταν. 'Οτι δεν ψήφιζαν με την λόγικη ή με όραμα και αγάπη για την πατρίδα τους, αλλά ώς επαίτες σε πολιτικούς του τύπου Πάγκαλου.

Ο Ελληνικός λαός πάσχει από έλλειψη υπερηφάνειας και αυτοσεβασμού, καθώς και αξιοπιστία και οράματος για την πατρίδας τους. Όταν εμείς δεν πιστεύουμε στον εαυτό μας και την Ελλάδα, περιμένουμε σοβαρά να το κάνουν οι ξένοι εταίροι μας?

Οι δηλώσεις Πάγκαλου και κάθε Πάγκαλου ας γίνουν μάθημα για το τι είδους πολιτικούς ψηφίζαμε τόσα χρονια στην εξουσία, και τι είδους πολιτικού θα πρεπει να αποφεύγουμε στο μέλλον. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Why austerity makes corruption worse; in Greece and elsewhere.
One of the main culprits for Greece's damaged economy and financial troubles-according to most European media and analysts-was the corruption that plagued the country.

Greece suffers from it at all levels; starting from government corruption, which inevitably trickles down to the lower levels of its society.

But where does the delinquency culture has its roots and why hasn't been eradicated yet?

In Greece we have a saying: the fish stinks from its head. That means that in an organization, family or a country, the problems arise from its leadership; the parents, the management or the government.

And since it is the government and the state institutions in Greece that are corrupt and dysfunctional, how can anyone expect the country to seriously tackle corruption?

Government corruption derives from many sources. The Ottoman and Byzantine authoritarian legacy, Greece's troubled recent history, its deep ideological divisions which are remnants of the civil war, the Greek Orthodox Church. The list can go on.

The reality is that the Greek elites oppose or are reluctant allowing the country to change, because if it does so they will obviously lose out; in power, influence and economic prominence.

They are indifferent in reforming the country, or tackling the red tape that makes doing business in Greece difficult. Nor dealing with tax evasion, as they are the ones who are the worse offenders. If they modernize the country foreign investors might come in, posing a serious threat to their monopolies.

On the other hand, Greece's elites have been wasting Greek and European tax payer's money, for sustaining the European and American industrial elites.

They have been striking deals with leading German companies, or buying American, French or German weaponry that Greece does not really need; to protect itself from Turkey, a NATO ally.

Instead of investing in reforming the country and its institutions, they are playing their part in a global and pan-European financial and political establishment. The only government that shows some signs of moving away from this mentality is the government of Syriza.

Yet Europe is working hard to overthrow it, because it is Leftist and it poses a serious threat to the Liberal and Conservative European establishment. If Syriza succeeds, more Leftist governments might spring out across Europe.

Consequently, because of their ideological differences or national interests, European elites are opposing any potential change in Greece. Disregarding of course the fact that the former establishment parties, did nothing to reform the country.

Furthermore the Greek citizens have naturally their own share of blame. Their culture and mentality is heavily influenced by the country's Ottoman past. Greece's citizens-especially those in the countryside- seek to have a very personal and nepotistic relationship with local authorities and the government.

That is how they were brought up. In the past, especially during the junta era you just did not challenge the police or the local authorities, which had absolute power over you. They could confiscate your property and exile you in the Soviet states, if you were even accused of being a communist.

Due to the very unstable political past, most Greeks that are now middle aged and hold the reigns of the country, were raised in absolute poverty. The two world wars, plus the civil one that followed, crippled the country forcing millions in deprivation.

Back then, very few Greeks were getting any education. Their majority were forced to leave school early, to support their families. With little education, a large number of them were forced into emigration to other European countries, or the rest of the world.

Opportunities were scarce and overall the Greeks adopted a very opportunistic and selfish attitude, in order to survive. Poverty created more corruption as it became common practice to evade the laws, or bribe the local authorities in order to get them off your back. There was no justice or equality back then, you could not progress without the right connections or bribery.

Whole generations grew up under such conditions. We are describing most people that are now aged over 50 in Greece and of course, hold the top positions in Greece's education, local government and industrial or financial corporations.

This generation is not going to change easily or proceed with any reforms. Doing business the way they do is all they know. In fact they are the ones who are responsible for Greece's demise. The country's very leadership belongs to this generation, with perhaps the only exception the current Syriza government.

If Greece has to change, it must encourage its young people into these top spots. They have furthered their experience and education in international European universities. They have traveled more, are multilingual and have new ideas, plus they are at their most creative.

Unfortunately the Troika/EU inspired austerity forced this young generation into either emigration or unemployment and poverty. Young people in Greece right now suffer from lack of opportunities and to survive, they will probably have to do what their predecessors were doing to survive; cheat, tax evade or engage in unorthodox and illegal employment practices.

Greece is suffering from a brain-drain, since nowadays it is the most educated and qualified youths that are leaving the country. How can Europe expect the country to reform itself and change, without its best resource; its young, skilled workforce.
According to recent EU Commission report, Greece is to lose more than 20% of its population until 2060, due to its low birthrates and continuous emigration. Low birthrates that are also a result of poverty and unemployment, as young people can not start families of their own, well until their mid thirties.

The country will be a nation of pensioners, with few opportunities for young people. Any chance of reforms and a change in the Greek people's mentality, will be diminished with the continuous emigration. Older generations are more conservative by nature.

How does Europe hope to force Greece to reform, when it is condemning young Greeks into the same vicious circle of poverty, lack of education and employment opportunities?

These were some of the main reasons that corruption settled in Greece in the first place. The poorer a nation the more it suffers from it.

If the European leadership ever wants to have Greece as an equal, prosperous and dynamic member, it can't continue with its austerity policies that cripple the country's youth. Greece needs investments to offer employment opportunities to its young people and in addition reforms in government and local authority level.

Reforms that will never happen if Europe forces the Greeks into further poverty and constant humiliation. The more this situation continues, the more hard lined the response will be from the Greek people, opposing any reforms.

Or even worse, the on-going austerity and economic crisis, might further destabilize Greece politically and economically, resulting in an even more radical political party coming into power, like the Golden Dawn. With potential disastrous consequences for the whole continent.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Britain remains conservative, with consequences for Europe.
On the 7th of May the British public decided on their future government. While the pre-election opinion polls predicted a very close result, the Tories managed a surprise victory.

Despite the odds, they achieved a parliamentary majority meaning that for five more years, Britain will be ruled by the Conservatives.

This development will not only have an impact on the UK, but on Europe too.

With Conservatives gaining power in the UK, we now have the possibility of a "Brexit" from the European Union. Prime Minister Cameron has promised the country a referendum in 2017 on whether to stay in the European Union or to exit out of it. (CNN)

The result, if we take into account this election result, could be unpredictable. Europe will never be the same again without the UK as a member of the EU. 

Ireland for example will really need to rethink its relationship, both with Britain and the EU. The small country has close ties with its larger neighbor and the Northern Ireland situation will need to be renegotiated. Right now after the Good Friday Agreement, its citizens can chose either or both Irish and British citizenship.

How will this agreement be affected, once being British citizen won't guarantee being an EU one too? And will the borders between the North and the Republic have to be reinstated? 

Ireland of course will not be the only region of Europe which will be impacted. The EU will lose one of its oldest members and a net contributor to its budget, plus a nation with significant experience in international diplomacy and politics.

For Britain itself, a withdrawal from the EU could also bring numerous challenges. Apart from the obvious economic risks that many business and financial experts are warning of, there is also the question of Scotland.

The Scots may have voted against independence in the recent referendum, but that does not mean that the idea is dead in the water. In these elections the Scottish National Party became the third largest elected power in parliament. (CNN)

There have been speculations in the British press that a big win for the SNP could lead to yet another referendum in 2016. Many Scots also don't like the Conservative sentiments against the EU, where they'd like to stay. (CNN)

In an extreme scenario, Britain could leave the European Union, triggering Scotland to leave Britain, and join the EU. (CNN) Such possibility could redraw not only the map and politics of the UK, but Europe as well.

The only positive outcome from the British elections, is the failure of UKIP to win the seats they hoped for. The conservative party only managed to have one of their members in the new British Parliament, while its leader Nigel Farage has quit the party's leadership as result.

Nevertheless, the impact UKIP had in British politics is significant. One can say that they have achieved their goal, despite losing the elections. They have been a serious threat to the establishment parties, forcing the Tories and Mr. Cameron to guarantee a referendum on EU membership to the British people. 

Something that will result in their inevitable defeat in the next elections, should they backtrack on it.

But Britain's preference for the Right has not been the only one in Europe. In the recent Finnish elections, the nationalist Right-wing Finns Party came second, forming a coalition with the other two major parties in Finland. 

That will mean that the Scandinavian country will stick to conservative, nationalist politics that will pose some difficulties on European level. Especially in relation to managing the debt of other countries under the Troika's supervision, like Greece.

With Finland and Britain turning Rightwards, together with a conservative Germany as well as many other continental national governments, Europeans must realize that austerity is here to stay. Instead of complaining about it, they could start voting without being influenced by nationalist, populist agendas.

Perhaps Europe's citizens are not bothered by austerity after all. At least not until it starts affecting them in the same way it did, the citizens of the peripheral economies of the continent.

The only country that turned to the Left as a result of the austerity policies, was Greece. But how can a single Leftist government like Syriza can fight or limit austerity in Europe, when EU citizens keep voting for Right Wing and Conservative governments?

The latest developments in Europe's politics are thus particularly bad for Greece. The indebted country will have to face alone right-wing governments from all over Europe, organised in one political super-group the EPP. Their agenda is to turn Europe into a continent in which neo-liberal policies dominate, modeled after USA.

As result, an agreement between Greece and its European partners will be very difficult-if not impossible- unless other countries turn to the Left. But since Europeans seem to prefer conservative parties as governments, this outcome could be still far off.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Ireland decides on same sex marriage and family.
On the 22nd of May there will be another referendum in Ireland. This time on the right of same sex couples to marry. 

Civil partnerships already exist in the country since 2011, but now the Irish public will vote on giving full and equal rights to gay individuals on marriage.

Many view it as a milestone, as homosexuality was only decriminalized in the Catholic nation in 1993. They hope to make Ireland the 13th European state to give gay marriages full legal recognition and status.

While the opinion polls have been steadily showing support for a YES vote, the NO campaign has been increasingly vocal. Their arguments mainly evolve around the definition of the future Irish families and the rights of children.

Yet, the referendum question relates to the issue of loving and committed same sex couples having the right to have a civil marriage. That is the only issue and question being put to the voters.

This referendum is not about adoption or about surrogacy – these are clearly important issues and ones that people care about deeply but they are complex issues which are dealt with in legislation and are not part of this referendum and should not form part of the debate. (Marriage Equality

The Children and Family Relationship Bill 2015 will address many of the legal gaps faced by Irish children with lesbian and gay parents. This should become law by mid-April 2015. (Marriage Equality)

A single straight, lesbian or gay person can already adopt but an unmarried straight couple or a gay/lesbian couple cannot. For an adopted child already living with gay or lesbian parents, the Bill will mean that he or she can have a legal relationship with his/her second parent, the adoptive father or mother’s partner. (Marriage Equality)

The issue of adoption will be dealt with in the Children and Family Relationships Bill 2015 not the referendum. Adoption forms only a tiny part of this Bill and the changes mean that an unmarried cohabiting straight couple or a gay or lesbian cohabiting couple will be able to apply jointly to adopt. (Marriage Equality)

In other words the NO campaign uses the potential adoption of children by gay couples, to win the referendum. They cite that a child needs a mother and a father, thus underlining its human rights. 

They oppose such development because according their beliefs, it is not "natural". But the definition of family and marriage has been altered so much in modern times.

Nowadays we got many different types of families, other than the traditional. How "natural" is it, like in many cases of straight couples adopting, to have a "white" couple adopting an African or Asian child? 

And what of one parent families, could they be characterized as "natural"? People now form families from two broken ones, while there are families that are formed outside of marriage. 

Over the past decades we got over many of taboos and prejudices. Marriage between divorcees, between people of different race and children outside marriage. In each case there was always a debate, protests and demonstrations, but our societies always opted for freedom, equality and tolerance; and so they must now.

If our society chooses to forbid homosexual individuals to marry, on the grounds of opposing the redefinition of the modern family, it will simply act truly hypocritically. 

Our societies allow straight couples to adopt, often overlooking some realities. Especially when some of them pay for an adoption in a desperate attempt for a child, thus literally buying another human being.

All that so that they can hide from their community that they can not have children, aspiring to create a "normal" family. In reality a child won't save their marriage or legitimize it.

If some people feel awkward about gay adoptions and they want to protect the rights of children, they are right to have concerns. But shouldn't they do so for straight couple adoptions? 

Since they want to open a debate about the consequences and effects of adoption they should do so for every couple, gay or straight.

It is true that some gay couples can never be eligible for an adoption, because of their circumstances or lifestyle. But so are many straight couples.

Besides, the main aim of the gay community is to be able to marry and their unions to have the same legal statues as those formed by heterosexual couples. Adoption is not usually their primary concern, at least for a large number of gay couples.

Thus the notion that if gay marriage becomes legitimate, our societies will be full of children adopted and raised by gay people has no grounds.

What homosexual couples are demanding is equal human rights and  in love.Why can a "straight" man marry a non-national woman and give her legal residence permission in the country, while a gay man can not do so for the person he loves?

And why can't a lesbian mother adopt her partner's child from a former heterosexual relationship, making her a legal guardian? What happens to a gay couple's joined property and wealth they have accumulated, after the death of one of the partners?

These are some of the issues that homosexual couples are facing and what this referendum campaigns should be focusing on.

It will be a benefit to our societies to grant homosexual individuals their human rights and integrate them fully. They have been forced to the periphery of our social fabric for too long, unjustifiably and unfairly.

They have greatly contributed to human culture, society and history, it is about time to end discrimination and stop treating them as second class citizens.

Ireland should become the 13th European state to recognize same sex marriage, but in no way should it be the last. All EU member states must adopt similar legislation to give the same rights to all the Union's citizens.

With the free movement of people being one of the fundamental rights of EU citizens, how can a marriage be recognized in one state while it won't be in another? And what about an adopted child's rights, if its parents decide to move to another EU member?

This referendum won't just be a milestone in Ireland's modern history, but a small positive step towards where the whole Europe should be heading; to equality, freedom and tolerance of every individual in this continent.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Europe's outrage by Tsipras' visit to Putin, is hypocritical.
On the 8th of April 2015, Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras visited the Russian capital Moscow, to hold talks with Vladimir Putin.

As expected, the European media found another opportunity for mud throwing against the Greek Left-wing government. 
Speculations about what will Greece compromise and if Russia will offer money to the indebted country, dominated the European social media.

Most European analysts and commentators, feared that Greece will slip into the arms of Russia; breaking Europe's foreign policy and common stance on the Ukrainian situation.

Besides, what has Europe done so far for Ukraine, apart from sanctioning Russia, harming its own economy collaterally? 

These views have no base and are signs of a mass hysteria, propaganda and an agenda to discredit the newly elected "radical" Greek government.

First of all Greece is a sovereign nation and it can do business with anyone it thinks appropriate. I can't recall any of Greece's European partners, from East or West, siding or supporting Greece on its national issues such as the Cyprus problem, the FYROM issue or Turkey. 

Every European government is allowed to follow its own policies, according their interests and needs. Besides, since Europe's treatment of Greece for the past 6 years has been unacceptable, it itself pushes the country towards Putin.

Secondly, the probability of Greece re-positioning itself closer to Russia is practically zero, as long as Greece remains a full member of European institutions and NATO (The Guardian). It is thus unlikely that Russia will proceed towards a closer relationship with a US ally.

Similar scenarios were played during the Cypriot bail-out. Everyone in Greece and Cyprus counted on Russia for their support, citing their close historic and religious ties. None of the hypotheses came true; the Russians were not interested.

Greece has always been close to Russia for various reasons throughout its history, that is a fact. However many other European nations have close ties with countries outside our continent on similar grounds. Plus Greece has decided on its allegiance long ago; its population is far more pro-European than many other EU member states'.

It is peculiar that the European public opinion worries about Greece, yet nobody does so about the lack of democracy and transparency in EU, or the fact that people bail out banks. As if Greece is Europe's biggest problem, not austerity. 

The diminution of our worker's and human rights across the Union is scandalous. The European media instead of focusing on the above issues, they are trying to disorient the continent's public opinion. Greece reaching out to Russia for help is not news; the fact that Europe is unwilling to help the ordinary Greek people is. 

The European elites are desperate to bring the Syriza government down and they are using the media to spread their propaganda. They fear that if a Leftist government succeeds more countries will follow its example, threatening the neo-liberal agenda that the EU institutions have been promoting for decades.

But by scolding Syriza and its leader so much, they may get something even worse: the far Right is still prominent in Greece. The Golden Dawn is the third party in the country right now and France, together with many other countries are not far behind.

Europe should be glad that the Greeks went leftward instead or Right wing. Syriza is more manageable than Golden Dawn. The current government has many high ranked university professors in its cabinet, unlike the Golden Dawn, whose members are often involved in criminal activities. 

Besides, the average Greek citizens were forced to chose this government, by the ruthless measures that were imposed on them. Similar reaction we observed in the past in Germany itself. 

A deep recession combined with an international humiliation, resulted in the far Right Nazi party to come to power. It seems that Europe never learns from its mistakes. 

It is up to the EU to gain the hearts of the ordinary Greeks again, by showing a bit of tolerance and compromise. Not for the sake of Syriza, but for Greece's citizens, the unity of the EU and the euro. If the Greeks see some relief and an end to the constant humiliation, they may gladly return to the established, mainstream political parties. 

Greece does not need more debt thrown on it, in the form of a third bailout. The country now needs some growth and investments to lift its population out of poverty, kick-starting its economy. Yet the European elites are too arrogant and blind to realize the plight of the citizens from a "peripheral" economy. 

Finances to them are far more important, than living standards and human dignity. In the beginning they blamed the Greek people's alleged "laziness" for the crisis in the country. When this argument was burst, they then used the tax evasion argument. 

It was then discovered that German companies were among the bigger tax evaders in Greece, or that Holland and Luxembourg are contributing to the problem by acting as tax havens. 

So they now argue on the importance of sticking to the rules and honoring the previous government's signatures. European elites clearly don't like democracy enough, to respect the Greek electorate's wish to end austerity. 

Apart from being isolated, Greece is now further ridiculed. Countries like Spain or Portugal, who would ideally benefit from a Syriza victory are distancing themselves from it, because they have Right wing governments. Their leadership belongs to the same European political group as Angela Merkel's party. 

It is also noticeable that most Eastern European countries are seemingly against Greece. Partly because they have been under Soviet rule and find Greece's closeness with Russia outrageous. To them, Russia is a constant threat and the West the goal they've always aspired to.

They may have an underlined complex, seeing Greece-a country that allegedly benefited so many years from the West- being so "ungrateful". They are so keen to shake off the image of the communist, poor and backwards region that were themselves. 

As result, they have adopted a hard line pro-Western, liberal and capitalist agenda. If they suffered in order to achieve the transition from communism to capitalism, so must the Greeks. Besides, many of them have contributed to the Greek bail-outs, despite them being poorer than the Greeks.

The reality is quite different. Firstly the bailouts were not given to the Greek people, but the European banking system, in other words they stabilized Western European banks. 

Secondly capitalism is not perfect as a system. It may offer more prosperity than communism, but it also harbors inequality in a society and among the EU member states. How "lucky" was Greece to be a capitalist country in a system that regards it as a "peripheral" economy, aka of secondary importance?

In addition, although many of them are being praised for the achieved reforms and their economies are booming, their citizens are still looking to migrate to Western countries for a better future. The benefits of the efforts to embrace capitalism, have not been equally distributed it seems.

Finally Eastern European states should not be angered by Greece's closeness to Russia, as it is not related remotely to their Soviet experience. Themselves have close links with Germany, Scandinavia or other nations. To Greece, Russia has always been a close trade partner and occasionally an ally.

Besides, it is doubtful that Greece under Syriza will ever plan to conspire against Europe and the West. Its leadership merely uses Russia as a wild card. The aim is clearly to give a message to the rest of its EU partners, that if they continue refusing to compromise, Greece has other allies to turn to.

And Putin obviously values this opportunity, stating that he can still find allies among the EU itself, potentially influencing Europe from within. Additionally, Greece and Russia without the meddling from the rich yet arrogant Western European nations, could strike very profitable deals for either parties.

Greece needs the investments and since Europe refuses them, the country has every right to look elsewhere for them.

To conclude, no one has the right to point the finger to Greece for seeking to better its position and finances. It is clear that European solidarity and unity are far from being achieved and it is the major European powers that prevent this development.