Monday, December 19, 2011

British Veto and the future of the country in EU.
British PM David Cameron, has vetoed recently a suggested new E.U. treaty to heal the euro and save the euro-zone.

While all other 26 heads of states agreed to at least sit on the table and negotiate the treaty, Britain chose once more to show its true feelings about the single currency.

It is not the only country that had objections, as Hungary, the Czech Republic, Sweden and others were also skeptical. Yet they are the ones who refused to at least negotiate.

Understandably, the plan that the "Merkozy" duo is promoting might not be ideal for all countries. But at least this is the first move from our leaders to tackle the crisis, after a long time. Besides, each state individually can negotiate the proposal, to safeguard its interests.

Despite all, the U.K. chose to isolate itself within E.U. The result from Mr. Cameron's "NO" had deep impact both at home, throughout Europe and the U.S.A. Deputy PM Nick Clegg and many other pro-European politicians, were obviously unhappy. In addition, the current coalition forming the British Government between the Conservatives and the Liberals, showed its first serious cracks.

An open war of words took place between the British and the French, with French President Nicolas Sarkozy criticizing Mr Cameron and accusing him of being like an "obstinate kid". Even the Americans seemed surprised while Ireland, a country that is hugely involved in the British market, is planing to start talks with their larger neighbors "within weeks." Possibly to persuade the British Government relax their position.

Thus the argument the Tories are trying to win for the past few years, of Britain leaving the EU is back on the agenda. They are pushing the British government to give the public a referendum on EU membership, that most likely will be lost under the current crisis in Europe. Subsequently forcing the UK outside the EU.

As result the UK is going to follow Norway's example. Hence, the most important impact it will have on their country, is losing their seats in the European Parliament (EP) and their EU Commissioner.

While Norway is outside the EU, it still has to adopt a large part of EU law and legislation, as part of their EEA (European Economic Agreement) membership, plus contribute to the EU budget.

But they have no say on how these laws are shaped, as they have no seats in the EP and no Commissioner to promote their interests. Norway has failed in giving its citizens a voice in legislation that affects them directly.

They do pay less than if they were a full member, but as they are an oil rich nation it would not matter much if they paid more. In other words, in order to lower their payments towards the EU, Norway prefers to deprive its people's influence in Europe.

However in Britain's case, things are more complicated. With its nearly 60 million population Britain is one of the most populous countries in EU. They have the most seats in the EP together with France and Germany, so their citizens have a significant say in European affairs.

Historically, Britain always wanted influence in Europe. They repeatedly got involved in European affairs, wars and politics. Europe is too big and too near for Britain to ignore it.

Sadly just like the Norwegians and the Icelanders are victims of a very powerful fishing lobby, the Brits are victims of their capital; the City of London and its financial sector. The people do not gain much out of the policies this sector promotes, unlike the country's banks.

The City of London is a part of the matrix of banks, the markets and the rating agencies, that have lately caused so much grief in many parts of Europe. The British Government is trying desperately to secure their privileges, to the detriment of the ordinary people of Britain and Europe.

The stiff refusal of the British Government to support the euro-zone, shows that they have different plans for the common currency and the EU.

With British media brainwashing and misinforming the British public for decades, it is no wonder that the public have a very different view on how things work within EU. The whole situation, reminds of the usual power struggles between the main three European powers and the interests of their elites.

It is a pity that the whole country has been taken hostage of the interests of the few. But in the end, democracy has to prevail, if the wish of the British public is for their country to leave the EU. Hopefully they will realize that they are doing their country no favors, by standing with the interests of the rich elites.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Our Leaders have agreed; "We need more Europe!"..

Italy's, Germany's and France's Leaders have agreed in a recent Summit that if we want to get over this crisis we need more Europe.Again during this week our Leaders are having another Summit, trying desperately to solve the crisis that is engulfing Europe and save the euro!

More economic governance want some, tax harmonization and hard supervision of states that do not follow the rules by the book, are some other suggestions.

I say it was about time for them to do something about it. The thing that worries me the most is that they may eventually agree on something, but what will this something be and how will it affect us? Will we have the richer and most powerful states again "taking the lead" and tell all the rest of us what to do, according to their interests? Will we have lobbies that serve the rich elites, imposing more austerity on us? Will they agree on something that will solve the problems once and for all, or will they just paste over them again?

The EU represents mostly the elites and not as much the people, there is nothing new to this. There are voices though who try and work hard, most of them being in the European Parliament. There are people in EU and its system who want the best for the citizens, work is being done and ideas flow. But somehow, the rich elites of the rich countries high jack the whole thing and think too much in real-politic.  

So here comes Mrs Merkel who answers to God knows whom and says "Nein" to the eurobonds. The boat is sinking and she halts the whole progress. We are going around in circles over and over again, but this time they are very dangerous circles. And our Governments instead of acting fast, they keep listening to the lobbies and their advisers (bankers, corporates, economists) both on national and EU level, because the EU is a huge lobby. Meanwhile people in Greece are committing suicide and people in Ireland are emigrating.

We should have a strong European Parliament and a fully functioning democracy between confederate states of Europe. Become like what the U.K. is becoming. A loose federal, political and economic entity. The Scots have their parliament for their national affairs, but they also have elected representatives in the House of Lords as part of Britain.

It is not the case of building a new nation, a superstate, or a federal country like the USA. If that ever happens it will take centuries to be achieved. What we should be trying to build is some kind of federal political entity, that countries and nations would still be states, but would be governed both by the E.P. and their national parliaments. Even though problems and disagreements will still exist, hopefully through a democratic way we will be able to solve them.
If we could ever achieve that, it would mean democracy and equality among European countries. The rich Norwegians with the poor Moldovans, the developed Dutch with the underdeveloped Ukrainians, the philosophical Greeks with the more pragmatic Swedish, the laid back Italians with the punctual and control freaks Germans. All working together for stability and progress throughout our continent. But we have still to reach that level of selfishness and solidarity in Europe.

If we became more federal or confederate, then the rich powerful nations would not be able to dictate the poorer ones. We would decide the direction and future of our Continent together as a unit, with our directly elected representatives. For our national issues we would still have our national Parliaments in place. Right now as it stands, we have intergovernmental agreements that are being taken behind closed doors in the various E.U. Summits.

The other option of course is to go back to free trade, and reduce E.U. to something like EFTA/EEA. But then we will lose the E.P. and that will mean even less say for us in those intergovernmental agreements. Like what the Norwegians are having to deal with right now. They have to accept E.U. law and legislation as part of EEA (European Economic Agreement), they have to contribute with their taxes, but they have no say or representatives in the E.P. 

They have traded this right for less EU budget contributions. So their Governing elites can lobby and make deals with other EU nations that the citizens of Norway have little knowledge or say on them! That is not a fully functioning democracy in international level! 

Of course to achieve this plan we will need to compromise hugely a part of national sovereignty. Well are we really sovereign nations in a globalized world? Unless you become like Cuba or North Korea, you can not be fully independent while you have to be part of the World community and trade. By just joining the UN for example, you lose part of your sovereignty. We can not reverse globalization, but we can get prepared for it.

If our Leaders want more Europe, then let us have it our way not theirs. I do not want a Europe that there will be peripheral and core, rich and poor, developed and underdeveloped states. I want equality and democracy and that means binding our countries even closer together. If the rich countries lose their grip and power on European affairs, then this Continent can move forward united in progress.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tainted Victory.

Unfortunately for Skopje, their so called victory at the International Court of Justice, except from being partial, it is also largely symbolic since the court not only didn't order Greece to alter its stance in the future but it also found that the ruling itself "constitutes appropriate satisfaction" for the FYROM, which proves the fiasco of both the lawsuit and the ruling.

However, what is most important is that there is no way Skopje will enter NATO before the name issue with Greece is solved. As NATO Chief Fogh Rasmussen clarified yesterday in Brussels, the FYROM still won't be admitted to the alliance until the name issue is resolved.

"I take note that the International Court of Justice has issued its ruling on a bilateral issue between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. 

The ruling does not affect the decision taken by NATO Allies at the Bucharest summit in 2008. We agreed that an invitation will be extended to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as soon as a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue has been reached."

The European Union is expected to keep the same stance, regardless of Skopje's aspirations. So, let them celebrate their "victory" now that they can because when they see that the doors remain shut, they will realise that it was all for nothing,  provided of course that Greece will finally stand up to the challenge.

Sources: AFP, Focus News Agency,CBS News

Read more here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Socialism in Europe under extinction?

 "Since the recent elections in Spain toppled Prime Minister Zapatero, only 4 out of 27 heads of government in Europe belong to the center-left. The Socialists also fared badly in the 2009 European elections, which saw the center-right European People’s Party dominating." That is what we read in the Debating Europe website recently. (

Indeed, in my opinion Socialism in Europe is critically endangered; like the Amur Leopards, very few remain in the wild. Haven’t you noticed that most of Europe is “blue” currently, in other words they have right/center-right wing Governments? And the few that do have left/leftist Governments, follow right wing policies. No wonder the people are angry and vote for right wing parties. Because if they can’t find social justice and security from the left wing parties then what is the point?

Not to mention that far right wing parties  and nationalism are on the rise in Europe. Because of irresponsible economic, social and immigration policies, the people want to return to what they knew best; a nation state!

If Europeans vote for right wing Governments then perhaps they are worthy of their fate, but then again what alternatives do they have since the Left is also promoting and supporting Capitalism? Most of the times they vote for right wing parties, is to get rid of the corrupt previous left wing Governments. Can we put the blame on the European voters?

In Greece previously they voted for the center-right party New Democracy, to get rid off the "socialist" party  PASOK, because of the constant scandals of corruption. When the New Democracy got elected, little has changed. The Greek public were witnessing more and more scandals so they voted back PASOK again with its new leader Mr. George Papandreou.

Only then to see austerity and a deep crisis hitting their country. Every worker's right they fought for during the past decades was scrapped, salaries slashed. Now they are having a Technocratic Government but we know for sure, that PASOK won't be in power anytime soon. In fact the media are already tipping New Democracy's new leader Mr. Antonis Samaras to be the next Prime Minister, after the emergency Government.

In Ireland after almost 15 years in power, the Fianna Fail center-left party loses the elections to the right-wing Fine Gael party. Again because of the scandals, the economic bubble burst and the destruction of the "Celtic Tiger" economic miracle, that infuriated the Irish electorate and thought it was time for them to go.

In my opinion they did the right thing. When a Government stays for too long in power, corruption settles certainly in. So we see again that the people voted for a center-right wing party to punish the existing Government in protest. The same we saw the same in Spain.

Without knowing it and out of desperation , anger, disappointment and a hope for a real change, Europeans willingly give power to conservative  parties. But this comes with the permission to the Right to chop their salaries, scrap their worker’s rights and establish a more American style Capitalism. And why the "socialist" Governments compromised and followed those policies already, do they answer to us or the Markets?

Has the Right infiltrated the Left and make it collapse from within, or could there be a plan to destroy Europe's Left and its traditionally strong leftist policies, by exposing it to the public's mistrust and anger? Perhaps there is too much corruption and nepotism in Europe that even the Socialists developed a "taste" for such Capitalism that is against the workers. Do we have a choice for Socialism at all anymore, or it is a thing of the past?

Where does this leave the ordinary folk and the workers of Europe, shall we accept our fate and allow our leaders to drive us to a Continent that has less Social policies? Some say that we can not afford a Social Europe anymore. Perhaps because we run out of regions of the World to exploit.

Were our social policies based on the poverty of other nations, or is it just the greed of our rich elites that always want more? There is a redesigning of our social structures as we speak, that is for sure. But are we going backwards when social issues and rights are concerned, are we losing the battles we won and what will be the new reality for the European working class in the future? Perhaps what is happening in Greece right now, is an omen of what it is to come for the whole Continent. Where Europe's powerful Right is leading us?

The EPP (European People's Party, Europe's center- Right) is the largest party in the European Parliament and they are in power in most European countries, notably Germany (the powerhouse of the euro-zone) with the Christian Democratic Union (C.D.U.). If they lead most of Europe, they have a majority in the E.P. and they keep winning the public's hearts and votes with the disastrous policies that the Left is following, what hope do we have for a Social Europe?

Obviously our leaders are following the American model, they are bowing to the pressure from the Markets and multinational companies to get rid of our social policies, in return of investments and loans. Do we want jobs but no worker's and social rights, or we keep our rights and we have no jobs and why can't we have both?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Eurasian Union dreams Putin. And the Turks design their own too!

Turkey’s President Mr. Abdullah Gul, put forward his vision for a democratic Middle East with its own E.U.-style structure and functions. He never of course commented on what will happen with Turkey's E.U. membership bid that has been pending for decades.

Is Turkey fed up of waiting and decided to set up its own club, or does President Gul see a place for his country as a “bridge” between the two regions? Perhaps this is another bluff to send a message to Europe. Are the Turks turning to the East to establish their influence and what will all this mean for us?

Either way, it’s not the only time that recently we’ve heard of plans for new organizations, modeled after the E.U. Last month the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, announced that he wanted to see a Eurasian Union set up by 2015 incorporating Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, with its headquarters in Moscow.

Some in Europe and E.U. fear such moves and are suspicious of them. Perhaps they always see as threat whatever comes from Russia and the East and if they can not be part of it, they are becoming skeptical. Perhaps they do not want to let go Turkey out of their sphere of influence and are afraid of Turkey or Russia becoming too big and powerful.

I do not see why Europe should be afraid when other regions are forming blocks. There are blocks of nations all over the World: ASEAN, AU, MERCOSUR, NAFTA, you name it. So what if the Russians and the Turks want to create their blocks. Mr. Sarkozy created the Mediterranean Union. If any leader can satisfy his ego and leave a legacy by creating a new "Union" of nations, so be it!

What does the Mediterranean Union has achieved so far anyway? Do we ever read about what it does, how it works and what are its functions? While the E.U. is often scrutinized and blamed for being undemocratic, no one cares about what does Mr. Sarkozy's brainchild focus on and how it influences us. So will those two new "Unions" be just another club of nations cooperating, or can they ever challenge E.U./Europe's hegemony?

On the other hand, such initiative by the Turks will perhaps be the solution to the Turkish E.U. membership saga. If we do not want them in, then set them free and be honest with them. Are we afraid that two new strong blocks in our neighborhood will mean more competition? Perhaps that will give us a kick up the back side to get a grip, solve our differences and proceed with necessary reforms.

We should also re-approach Russia, our relationship with this country and not fear them.Our attachment to the hip with America is not good for us. We should have good relations both with America and Russia. Be an equal partner to them, not their sidekick and little toss-ball. We should pursue more independent foreign policies from USA, reestablishing our relationship with the Americans but also Russia, Turkey, China, Brazil and India.

All European nations should join the EU, that means both Ukraine and hopefully even Belarus. Russia and the EU should renegotiate immigration, freedom of movement, free trade and other bilateral agreements, while the Russians should expand their influence in central Asia. In that way, though Russia will never be an E.U. member state, it will contribute in the increasing European influence in the central Asian region. With Turkey we could do the same for the Middle Eastern Region and the Southern Caucasus.

If we keep good  relations with those two nations, re-approach them and set up new, crystal clear bonds of alliance, friendship and cooperation, I believe that it can be a win win situation for all. If we do not want Turkey in E.U. we should form a different close kind of relationship with them. Allow them to expand their influence in the Middle East, and through them we could increase our own influence without us having always to intervene.

What we should give Turkey and Russia back of course is another matter. I guess that is a topic for a good debate. If the Norwegians enjoy all E.U. citizens' rights without being a member, then perhaps that is a suggestion.

Of course we will have to guard our interests and make sure that those two new "Unions" if they ever materialize, do not pose a threat to us. It is down to us to get a grip and start thinking as a unit, supporting each other, backing up each others' interests and protect each others' borders. If we are truly united then no one could challenge Europe.

We do have so much going on for us and we should be engaging in a positive and open manner with our neighbors, not be skeptical or suspicious of them. There is no need to impose our will and interests on our neighboring nations or blocks. We can achieve so much more if we have them as allies.

Will they of course want to cooperate with us? Well Europe is Russia's most important customer when it comes to gas and oil. And if we were not too pro-American perhaps the Russians would behave differently towards us. Their interest in the rest of the continent was always there.

Some E.U. countries of Eastern Europe that were under the Soviet thumb might think differently. But things have changed now. Europe if becomes truly united, it has no need to fear Russia anymore. Turkey has long standing trade and historical ties with Europe as well, why do we always have to push them away?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Technocratic Governments in Europe?

Italy and Greece have new Governments. Their previous democratically elected Prime Ministers were replaced by technocrats; economists and bankers to be more precise.

One of course would think how "democratically" elected was Mr. Berlusconi, a man that seemed to be more like an oligarch. He run the country as he pleased, he was a part time politician as he admitted himself while focusing on his romances and bunga-bunga parties. He manipulated the public opinion since he owned most of the country's media!

He is replaced by Mr. Mario Monti, a pro-European Economist much hailed in E.U. and Europe. Mr. Papandreou, after a disastrous handling of the crisis in Greece, was replaced by Mr. Lucas Papademos a former Vice-President of the European Central Bank. He has the approval of many E.U. Officials and other European leaders and politicians.

What I find amazingly peculiar is the fact that now we have unelected Prime Ministers, not politicians but technocrats, replacing the leaders that the people chose to lead them. What does this say about Democracy in Europe? The Governments that the people vote in their Parliaments can not deliver in securing the country's interests while solving and addressing all the issues that the public is facing. Perhaps then we are in a much deeper crisis and not just a financial one, but political, social and moral as well.

Do we need the Technocrats to come and save us or do we need a reality check on how Democracy is being implemented, if we have a real Democracy at all in our Continent? Our national politicians have all let us down and the promotion of unelected Technocrats in the driving seat of our countries, is seen as the solution to our political system's shortfalls. I do not doubt that they are going to do a good job, but who do they represent?

Will they represent the people, the citizens of Italy and Greece and their interests and what are their agendas, influences and motivations? We do not know much about them, in which circles they belong or why they were chosen to lead their countries. They both seem to be well known in the European power brokers' circles and it makes sense to pick them to solve a pan European problem. But why our national Governments were unable all those years to deal with those issues and make the necessary reforms gradually in order to better their countries.

Perhaps our democratic system is corrupt beyond repair, or so dysfunctional that in order to heal it, we need not so democratic solutions. What does the future hold for Europe and its states? Will one by one be forced to replace their democratically elected Governments with Technocratic ones and who will control those new Governments? Perhaps we are experiencing a political experiment in Europe. If it succeeds in Greece and Italy, more countries will follow until these new type of Governments will be the reality. Are Technocrats better than politicians? How can we control or have a say on what the Technocratic Government will be doing, since we won't be voting for it and they won't be answerable to us anymore. 

It is no lie that we needed change, we needed a political reboot in our Continent. But I was hoping it would take place in a democratic way, it would be approved and supported by the citizens. We had a political elite established in most of our countries since WW2 and they got used in being in power so much, that staying there was more important than working for the betterment of Europe.

Will this new style of Government work? Only time will tell. But to me this is a very sad development. We have a new type of Government to save us from the evils of Democracy! It is scary if you think about it. I was hoping for a democratic solution, I was hoping to see the European Parliament empowered and in constant cooperation with the national Parliaments working for shaping a new Europe.

In the Arab countries they are fighting for more Democracy, transparency and freedom. In Europe we are giving away our Democracy, transparency and social justice. We are trying to assist the Arab countries in their battles to achieve Democracy. Who is going to help us then in our battles for transparency and social equality?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Liar, Liar!

French President Nicolas Sarkozy was caught calling Israel's Prime Minister Mr Netanyahu "a liar!" During the recent G-20 Summit in Cannes France Mr. Sarkozy, while on a private conversation with U.S. President Mr Obama and unaware that the microphones were switched on said: "I cannot bear Netanyahu, he's a liar."

Enabling reporters in a separate location to listen in to a simultaneous translation, the plot thickened when Mr. Obama reportedly replied: "You're fed up with him, but I have to deal with him even more often than you," according to the French interpreter.

To me this is hilarious and fascinating for many reasons. First we get a glimpse on how our politicians work or think of each other. Not much differently than classroom schoolchildren. With their strops, fake friendships, alliances, back stabbing comments. Then we get a glimpse on America's relationship with Israel, only now we also see that this does not always mean a perfect relationship.

America is supporting Israel no matter what, to support and protect its interests. What we did not know is that each US President, does not always "feel the love" for each Israeli Prime Minister. And perhaps that Israeli Governments and their policies do become a bit of a pain sometimes for the US and the West.

We can only imagine what goes around a diplomatic table, when our leaders meet in those "summits" or state visits. It can't be much different from when we, ordinary citizens meet with our colleagues at work, with everything that goes in those meetings. Wasn't the former Czech Prime Minister Mr. Topolanek, that was photographed naked around one of Italy's former Prime Minister Mr. Berlusconi pools? Politics, power, money and fornication go hand to hand it seems.

Has America's and Europe's unconditional "love" for Israel, made them the spoiled child of the West? Perhaps even if our leaders are tired of their politicians' antics, the Israeli elite are abusing their position of power. Did you notice how the USA reacted when Palestine joined UNESCO recently? They just withdrew their funding from the agency.  Either you do as we think it's best, or we are withdrawing the only powerful and most successful weapon we've got; our money.

Lately, Israelis got so overconfident that they suggested an attack on Iran to stop their nuclear ambitions. As if things were not fragile enough in the Middle East and our economies in a top shape. Yet they still want to drag us into another conflict with the Arab countries, as if we were not hugely involved in their affairs already.

But if Netanyahu is a liar, what does this say about his country, Israel's policies, interests, our leaders who support Israel, USA and Europe's choices and alliances? If our leaders are "forced" to work with a liar, cooperate with him and support the regime in his country, I do not see much justification in their claims about the region.

So, there we have it. One politician who is confirmed as a liar by his own colleagues. I wonder are there any honest ones in Europe or the World. How many things we do not know about, but we have to pay for and suffer the consequences I wonder. Due to out "lying" politicians, we can rest assured that our World won't change for the better anytime soon.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The kiss of Death for the Euro, or a bluff?

After months of announcing to the Greek public new cuts, austerity measures and the worsening state of Greece's economy, here comes a bomb from the country's Prime Minister. Mr. Papandreou decided to give the Greeks a referendum on the EU/IMF bail out plan.

One would think that such actions would take place right in the beginning of the bail out negotiations, not now.

Mr. Papandreou lied to the Greek public many times before, like when he reassured them that Greece has money and no bail out would be needed. He also promised them no more austerity cuts after the first ones were announced.

Then after trying so hard to stamp out any protest or opposition, he announces out of the blue a referendum. Of course after a mounting pressure by his European counterparts, he then withdraws the referendum option while fighting for his job.

Was his action a gaff, a bluff or a well calculated act? Some claim that it was a mistake to plan a referendum. But suddenly, the focus of the crisis in Greece went from the austerity cuts, the suffering and fight for survival of the Greek public, to if Greece will stay in the eurozone or even EU itself.

His actions certainly act as a blackmail to the Greeks, by giving them two options. Either you accept the austerity measures, or you are out! Of course we knew that he won't go ahead with it, simply because we knew that the outcome would be a secure NO.

The Greek public for the record never questioned their country's EU membership. They just can't take any more cuts. But by voting NO they would unwillingly put in question the country's future in the euro-zone and EU. So either you say yes and "democratically" accept the cuts, or you are out of the club.

Others claimed that he tried to show himself seemingly caring for his people and give them a "democratic" choice. So where was democracy in the beginning of the crisis, when salaries were slashed up to 40% and taxes rose to 23%?

Why didn't he practice "democracy" then, instead of using lying, bullying and propaganda in order to make the Greek Parliamentarians to vote for the austerity measures? And not just once, but for two bail out packages, the second just to repay the first one.

Another opinion says that in this way he just tried to blackmail Greece's European partners, threaten them so they can ease on their demands of Greece. He knew that if the Greeks were given a referendum, they would vote NO and that certainly would mean the end of the country's euro membership. And if Greece leaves the euro, it is most likely that the rest of the "peripheral" euro-zone members will follow suit. 

In that way the euro currency's own future is put in doubt, if the Greeks decide to leave. By casting a doubt over Greece's euro membership, he actually tried to threaten his European counterparts and make them back off their irrational demands. If that is the case, then it certainly indicates the real state of the European "Union," where the rich and powerful members are definitely bully the weaker ones.

What is going on in Greece right now is a pretty frightening scenario. It is no different from Britain during the early '80s and the "Thatcherite" policies. We hear on the media on a daily basis, about new cuts and austerity measures, plans to reform the country, different scenarios of potential disaster.

Jobs to be cut, sell out of all national companies and resources. Merging of hospitals, universities,ministries and local authorities, in an effort to  weaken any social services and coherence. Imagine the stress that the Greek public are going through. Which of the global media ever focused on this aspect of the crisis?

Greece is forced to sell out its national assets to its lenders. It is doubtful that the austerity measures are to shape up the Greek economy, rather to satisfy the global markets and economists and end the so called "European protectionism." By that of course they mean the European and Greek social model, that is loathed by many global financiers.

Greece's social policies were outdated of course and needed to be reformed, but not by impoverishing the people. All it needed was a determined and skillful leader, that Greece lacked for sure. Now the Markets attack the euro and its members, in order to force reforms that will favor the capitalist system and its powerhouse, the Markets themselves.

Recently in Ireland they discovered a “mistake” which revealed that the country has an extra 3.6 billion euro in its accounts. Yet no consideration to redesign the up-coming new austerity plan for 2012.Since the country has an extra 3.6 € billion, why doesn't the Irish Government put it towards the debt and lift some weight of the backs of the people?

As if austerity must be placed on the shoulders of the citizens at all costs. Money appear and disappear by “mistake” in Ireland and the Prime Minister of Greece lies on the country's finances. So are there any doubts still, that this crisis is designed to transform Europe's social policies, starting from the least progressive members like Greece?

We do not have a democracy in Europe, rather an intergovernmental institution that is elitist and relies on lobbyists and international financial institutions, rather the will or the interests of the citizens. Any actions coming from any Prime Minister in Europe, are not a "mistake." They are a well orchestrated theater that send signals to the real players of the European economy, or to confuse the European public opinion.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Occupy Dame Street. Dublin, 2011.

For the past two weeks or so, Dublin is seeing its own follow up demonstrations against Capitalist greed, that started from USA and the Occupy Wall Street movement; the small protest that grew to become a Global protest. One city after the other in America and then Asia and Europe, are organizing their own protests.

The protestors in Dublin have camped outside the Central Bank of Ireland on Dame Street in the city's center, naming their protest: Occupy Dame Street! For me that was an opportunity to talk to them, get to know their cause, understand it and perhaps even join them!

I decided to go and speak to one of them in a cold and rainy day in Dublin. Not ideal for interviews under a tend, but they are used to have people approaching them and ask questions. They quickly offered me a warm cup of tea. I sit down on a wet from the rain chair and speak to Emily, a young Dublin artist that is willing to explain to me why she is part of the protest.

She explains to me that the background of the people taking part, as well as their motives differ; from students, people who lost their jobs and homeless people, to people who have jobs and just want to express their anger. They go in the camp in the evenings and get up to go to work the next day, having spent the night there! Some of them are Irish but there are non Irish citizens participating too.

The group was set up by individuals that were watching the events unfolding in the other side of the Atlantic and the rest of the World. They soon set up an event in Facebook, came in contact with each other and so it started. The main purpose of their initiative was to show solidarity with the other countries in crisis or protesting!

Emily tells me that each person participates for different reasons, they have individual hopes and agendas. Some because they want the IMF out of Ireland, some others want to push for the oil and gas of their country to be returned to the people of Ireland. All of them though have an anti-Capitalist agenda, and they all disapprove that our Governments put profit before people. They demand " a real, participatory democracy- where the people's interests come first, where the people decide what happens." You may read the full statement of the movement here: . 

" I came for two hours, and two weeks later I am still here" says Emily. Her personal ambitions are not political, rather social she makes sure to mention. They have no plans about how long they are going to continue the protest. The group makes decisions in daily assemblies and for the moment their agenda is to continue their protest as long as it takes. They face few problems of course, apart the very wet Irish weather. "Shelter problems prevent more people from coming and joining" tells me Emily. They are working to solve those issues, so hopefully  they will have more protesters joining.

They get a lot of their food from nearby restaurants that offer them meals. The public is very supportive too, Emily adds: "people drop in food to us." They also have a " wish list" on their website (  with things that they need and their supporters are providing them. Anything from hardware and DIY, to blankets and electronics.

She points out to me that they are trying to spread their message on-line. Promote it to "underground" media, since America set up the standards for media blockage on these protests; almost all mainstream TV media do not refer to the protests as much as they should. They avoid giving an exact image of what is happening in those protests. So they do most of the promotional work on the internet.

I ask Emily if they had any interest from any of the media. She tells me that almost all Irish newspapers have shown great interest and support. But not the Irish TV and radio media; "they had ignored us overall, apart from some small reports." They had more interest from foreign TV channels like the France 24 and Al Jazeera. And the majority of Irish politicians did not show much of an interest either, with the exception of Senator David Norris!

Their daily work involves two assemblies where people who visit can voice their opinions and express their concerns. They take note of them and trying to be the voice of the people, by including them in their statements. They organize forums, they have set up the "Occupy Dame Street University" where people can ask questions and get information. They also organize arts and culture events, that some include music and traditional Irish music. Recently they had Billy Bragg, an English alternative rock musician and left-wing activist playing in one of their events.

I leave Emily to continue with her work, as other members of the group are asking for her opinion and assistance. They have work to do as it seems and I was starting to get really cold under that cramped tend full of books, food and other supplies. I passed from their camp a couple more times during the next few days and I saw their group growing, while more people walking through their camp debating and asking questions. I think what they are doing is amazing and plausible. Someone had to start something like this and I am more than pleased that ordinary people seem to support them or at least be curious about what they are doing.

I am not surprised of course that the mainstream media and the political elite try to pretend they do not exist. They hope that the whole thing will just fizzle out and be forgotten. It is up to all of us of course, not just the people who participate in this campaign to prove them wrong. This is an opportunity for all of us to get involved and have a say in the future we want. Will you use it, or will you pass it by?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The EU Single Market Forum, Krakow, Poland, 2011..!

As one of the five winners of the "Tell us your story" competition, organized the Polish Presidency of EU, the European Parliament and and the EU Commission, I had the honor of being invited to attend the EU Single Market Forum. The Forum took place in the beautiful city of Krakow, Poland on the 2nd to the 4th of October.

The Single Market Forum's (SIMFO) main aims were to bring together citizens, businesses and public authorities from all over Europe to take stock of the single European market as well as to discuss on new ideas for forthcoming initiatives and on how to improve implementation of the Single Market Act.

Since 1992, the Single Market has brought tremendous benefits and created new opportunities. But free movement of people, goods, services and capital does not always come about easily. The full potential of the Single Market is still unexploited.After a wide open debate, on 13 April 2011 the Commission has adopted the Single Market Act setting out a package of twelve key actions to further develop the Single Market.

 The two-day forum in Krakow will be the first of a series of similar conferences in coming years. It will mark the starting point of a constant debate among EU institutions and stakeholders on the development of the Single Market. (The above paragraphs were taken by the actual website of the SIMFO. You may find the information on the website at:

I arrived in Krakow on Sunday the 2nd of October around lunch time, with an Aer Lingus direct flight from Dublin. The weather was fantastic and amazingly warm and since I had the whole day ahead of me with no further obligations, I enjoyed strolling down the old city of Krakow on my own, shopping, browsing, dining and taking pictures for my albums. Krakow itself is a must-see European city, unspoiled, preserved with a rich and diverse heritage. The one thing that struck me apart from the vast number of aesthetically beautiful buildings, was the amount of nuns and priests roaming the city. I knew that Poland is a very religious country and Catholicism is deep rooted, but I was not expecting that.

The next day, Monday the 3rd of October was a very busy day. We met with the other four winners of the competition (Kimmo from Finland, Karolina from Poland, Barbrara from Austria and Alvaro from Spain) for breakfast in the Radisson Bleu Hotel's restaurant where we were booked, at 8.00 o'clock in the morning. At 9.00 we had to be at the Conference Center, about 20 minutes walk from the Hotel. The Forum was taking place in the Auditorium Maximum, at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. We registered after we passed all security checks at the entrance, and we went on to have another coffee before the conference begun.

There were about 1500 people attending the Forum mainly from Poland but many other EU countries as well. Politicians, MEPs, Commissioners, journalists, representatives from national Governments, think tanks, Unions and Trade Unions. The Conference was opened by its moderator, Mrs Jackie Davis. Soon after her introduction, followed speeches by the President of the European Parliament Mr. Jerzy Buzek, Poland's Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Waldemar Pawlak and the EU Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Mr. Michel Barnier.

Then our time arrived; the videos we filmed in Brussels about a month earlier were shown to the audience. Next we were called on stage by Mrs Davis to introduce us in person to the audience and we were interviewed by her. She asked us questions about our experiences, what problems we faced, how did we view the Single Market and what our suggestions would be to solve those issues we faced. Following that we had the honor to be presented with an award and a basket full of Krakowian delicacies by Mr Barnier and Mr. Pawlak. Then we returned to our seats and watched the comments on our videos and interviews, by some of the organizers, delegates and guests of the Forum like the Maltese MEP Mr. Louis Grech and British MEP Mr Malcolm Harbour.

Some amazing evidence were presented, on how much EU regulations are being misused, misunderstood and not properly applied by the EU member states. Sometimes because of ignorance of the rules and regulations by the officials in the national public services or simply by the inability of the member states to implement EU regulations. They have created the "Top 20" most common problems that people face when they shop, travel, study, move or work to another EU state from 20 real complaints and problems posted by EU citizens to various European portals. One thing that will stay in my mind was the case of a Danish girl that moved to Sweden and tried to open a bank account; but to do that she needed to have an permanent address in Sweden, and to have that she needed to have a bank account in order to give her details to her land lord and set up a direct debit, so she could rent a property. So she was stuck in a vicious circle, in vain because there are EU regulations that prevents and solves similar issues, but simply she and the Swedish bank employees were unaware of them! That opened my eyes on why people are so skeptic about their rights and the benefits that EU membership offers; they simply do not have a clue or if they do, it is the officials in their national public services that they lack the necessary knowledge!

The lunch break took place then and we had the opportunity to meet and mingle with various people. Many would come to congratulate us, others to get to know us better or comment on our experience. Soon many conversations turned political and of course we started talking about the current crisis and the situation in Greece.I was in my element. My discussions with Jenni Nikander, a Finnish employee of the EU Commission are most memorable!

Later on we had to go back to the conference and choose a workshop to participate, according our own interests or choice. There were around 7-8 workshops taking place at the same time in many different rooms of the conference center. I thought that the most appropriate for me, or of some interest would be the one regarding on how to bridge the gap that exists between the different EU institutions and the citizens. Because that is what my story was about; not knowing what is out there, our rights and opportunities that are left unexplored or unexploited simply because the people are not aware of them!

The workshop had the Polish MEP Mrs Roza Thun as a rapporteur, who she was also one of the main organizers of the Forum. We discussed the reasons why the people are unaware of many EU portals or institutions, how can we make the citizens more aware of them, the benefits of having more active participation by the citizens and other solutions, problems and challenges that we are facing when it comes to the Single Market. It was very interesting, lots of brain power and many ideas were flying around the room and some very interesting points of view. There were representatives from EURES, the program that helped me find my first job in Ireland, and also SOLVIT , a portal that helps EU citizens when faced with problems dealing with the Common Market and handles problems with a cross-border element that are due to bad application of EU law by public authorities within the EU member states.

They have presented their agencies and what they do, their plans for the future, the challenges they are facing and what they have achieved so far. Comments came from ordinary folk mainly from Poland, but from other representatives of Unions and Trade Unions from other EU states. The workshop finished around 6 o'clock in the evening and then  we were free to continue exploring and enjoying Krakow.

We arranged to meet with the other winners, go for a meal, a few drinks and experience the Krakowian night life! An experience that gave me the opportunity to make some new good friends like Tiina, the wife of the Finnish winner of the competition and Roberta, an Italian lawyer that was representing her firm that deals with problems arising from the misuse of the Single Market. We had a wonderful night out, but early enough we decided to go back to our hotel rooms as the next morning we had to attend the Forum again for the last day of it. And not only that, but we were all flying back home later that evening!

While we were out, the rapporteurs and other analysts were working most of the evening to come to conclusions, gather the results of our discussions of the previous day and present them to the audience the next morning! The Conference started again with the presentation by its moderator Mrs Davis of all the rapporteurs and soon after they took their turn on presenting what was being discussed by the rest of us in the workshops. One Austrian EU Commission employee, Mr Robert Wein approached the winners of the "Tell us your story" competition, and asked three of us to present the results and conclusions of the workshops (The Krakow Declaration) on a symbolic gesture to the appropriate officials. So I volunteered and I was given a scroll with the results of the first EU Forum on the Common Market to give to a representative of the Polish Government. It should have been the Polish PM Mr Donald Tusk, but to my disappointment because of the on going electoral campaign that was taking place in Poland at the time, he was not able to make it to the Forum!

After a short coffee break, most of the organizers and delegates took their turn to conclude and make a last comment on the conclusions of the Forum, and then it all ended. Me and the rest of the winners gathered for one last drink and some lunch in the main square of Krakow, the Rynek Glowny! We said our goodbyes and headed to the airport. I arrived in Dublin late that night, tired but so pleased that I had the opportunity to experience an event like this.

To me this was a first glimpse of the works of EU and its institutions, and a renewal of hope. Despite its bureaucracy and an often very slow reaction to the citizens problems, I saw democracy in the process and for the first time I was a part of it! I was able to discuss, share my views and opinion with MEPs and EU officials, debate and learn more on what other people like me are facing in their dealings with officials of another EU country. I have learned where the problems can be found and what must to be done to deal with them. I have made wonderful new friends and learned more about opportunities that I can explore and exploit as an EU citizen. I only hope that the EU officials take this opportunity and do something about it. Press our national Governments to improve the knowledge of their officials and the knowledge of the citizens about those opportunities and rights. I hope all this effort and ideas won't go wasted and stay in the papers only; it will be such a pity!

You may visit my new friend's Tiina Linkama photo-blog to see the pictures she took from the EU Forum at the following link:

You may view and read the Krakow Declaration here:

You may visit EURES 's web page at:

Finally you may learn more about SOLVIT at:

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The "Indignados" march in Europe, but America sees also protests.

The "Indignados" movement was formed in Spain on the 15th of May, as a reaction to a perceived lack of opportunities in Spain but also in various other European countries. They held protests in many Spanish cities and soon the movement was spread to another crisis hit country, Greece.

There the "Αγανακτησμένοι" (Aganaktismenoi) movement, similar to the one of the Indignados, held protests and occupied the centers of many large Greek cities.

They demanded changes and debated, discussed and staged workshops, but also gathered support with petitions from other passing by citizens. The protests in Greece were peaceful and a show of a real democracy, as citizens were taking their turns to speak and express their feelings, anger, wishes, hopes and views on the current economic crisis.

Yet our Government did everything to break such citizen mobilization and even used violence occasionally to free the squares from their camps! Many Spanish protesters have joined their Greek counterparts and spoke about their aspirations, goals and experiences on the Spanish front; perhaps the greatest example of true European solidarity so far!

Those protests are not the only ones recently though. They are linked with the Arab Spring and the protests in North Africa and Middle East, Portugal and Iceland a couple of years ago.The Arab Revolution managed to overthrow the regimes that ruled their region for decades, but in Europe the protests are still being seen as social phenomenon!

Can we see a real change in Europe like we saw in the Arab countries, or our democracy and freedom are just a placebo? In the Arab countries they managed to topple their regimes and oust Presidents. In Europe we just witnessed the former Icelandic PM Mr. Geir H. Haarde taken to court, for his responsibility in damaging the Icelandic economy. But in Ireland, Greece, Spain and Portugal, or any other European country we failed to achieve such development.

Protests of support for the Spaniards and the Greeks were staged in many other European cities, like Dublin, Lisbon, Amsterdam, London and Paris. "Even though protesters in Spain were of a heterogeneous and ambiguous group, they shared a strong rejection of unemployment, welfare cuts, Spanish politicians, the current two-party system in Spain as well as the current political system, capitalism, banks and bankers, political corruption and firmly support what they call basic rights: home, work, culture, health and education." (Wikipedia).

The exact same feelings that the "Aganaktismenoi" protested for in Greece. But nobody of those responsible for this crisis was prosecuted, jailed or fined and no change of the political status quo happened neither in Spain or Greece.

What we see in Greece is the constant punishment of the ordinary citizens, they are called to pay for the bail out package, while those responsible escape any austerity measures. Not only they were tax evading with the tolerance of the Greek political elite, but now they managed to escape the crisis unscathed.

Now the Indignados are arriving in Brussels, for a week of protests before a larger Europe-wide demonstration later this month, ahead of an EU Summit. They have walked from Madrid all the way to the Belgian Capital and they were joined by French and other protesters.

On the way to Brussels they walked through Spain and France, and the support they received from many villagers and citizens of towns they passed was encouraging. They also picked up comments and suggestions from people to take to the European Commission. Hopefully they will be heard and they will succeed in their efforts.

Another very encouraging recent development is that this side of the Atlantic is not the only part that is being motivated. For any real change to happen in the West, America has to participate and be taken on board. And lately that is exactly what is happening. Several thousand Occupy Wall Street protesters have marched to New York City's Washington Square Park for a peaceful general assembly.

Demonstrators marched Saturday from Manhattan's Zuccotti Park, the group's unofficial headquarters where protesters have been camped out for the last 22 days. The trek was peaceful and orderly.

On Wednesday, dozens were arrested when thousands marched on Wall Street in their biggest show of support yet. Last Saturday, 700 people were arrested after they spilled onto the roadway while crossing the Brooklyn Bridge.

Protesters are speaking out against corporate greed and the gap between the rich and poor. They say they have no leaders and are making decisions by consensus. Supporters have donated food, clothing and medical supplies. Some drop off their offerings, while others have mailed them. (Associated Press).

That is a show that even in America, the people are fed up with the current Capitalist system and they want to protest and react. They are fed up finding hard to make ends meet, while the Bankers and the Stock Brokers dictate their lives, getting richer with the money that are being deprived from the people.

The protests are spreading in America just like they are spreading in Europe, with Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia also having protests. The "Occupy Wall Street" campaign was started last month, as a protest movement against corporate power.

Both Europe and America are in a surge of citizen protests and their expression of dissatisfaction on the current political and economical condition. We have come to the end of our tolerance, we can not take it any more,we want justice, equal opportunities and those who brought us to this point to face justice.

We want change, real democracy and a different kind of economic model that will be fare and beneficial to all of us, not just the few of this World! Can we see the two values of freedom and democracy, that are the pride of our "great western civilization", in practice please? The ball is in your field now Leaders of Europe, the people are watching your next move.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Turkey is playing games in the Mediterranean.

With the current economic crisis and the main focus of the European media and politicians on the Euro crisis and Greece, few are noticing what is going on in the South Eastern Mediterranean region.

The Republic of Cyprus and Israel are proceeding with their plans to exploit the huge reserve of natural gas found in the region, but Turkey is interfering with military presence, threats and displays of power.

The gas resources are clearly on Cypriot and Israeli waters, so Turkey should not have any objections to the exploitation by those two countries. Cyprus is a sovereign  nation, an E.U. state and has every right to make deals and cooperate with other countries to attract investments for the betterment of its economy. 

TheTurkish Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Bulent Arinc said on Euronews recently, "Turkey has interests in the region." All nations are very protective of them in their neighboring regions, so fair enough that Turkey is promoting theirs.What is very annoying is their pretense on the Cyprus dispute, blaming Greece and Cyprus for the current status quo in the region. Clearly when they openly try to meddle with Cypriot affairs, then they should be able to take some of the blame.

What it would be great one day to see, if Turkey, Cyprus, Greece and perhaps other Balkan and Middle Eastern countries cooperated in developing their resources. We could achieve so much if we did and stopped getting in the way of each others progress, or efforts for development and prosperity. 

Turkey should allow Greece and Cyprus to exploit their natural resources, if not assist them and perhaps even be part of the efforts. Because stable and rich neighbors, mean less problems for you and perhaps more opportunities for trade and development for yourself. By constantly being a bully in the region, you are only contributing to its instability and that can not be good for anyone in it.

Recently they are not just get into trouble with Israel, because of Cyprus and the Palestinian issue last year. They are also in the bad books of Russia who apparently is sending a fleet in the region, to protect their interests in Cyprus, over the Turkish ones. But also of America's, as t is an American company that will do the drilling in Cypriot waters and of course Europe, as Cyprus is an EU member state. 

They have even threatened to stop all negotiations with EU for the second half of 2012, because Cyprus holds the EU Presidency. Honestly what's the point in it and how can this make Turkey more appealing to Europe?

Perhaps Turkey after decades of waiting to join the European club, is losing interest and is promoting its own interests in the Middle Eastern region. By forging alliances and pushing their own political and military muscle, they are trying to become a major player in the regional and global political scene. Sometimes though overconfidence can be bad. If they lose the support of Europe, Israel and the USA they are getting exposed to major threats.

The Kurdish problem is still a reality and not all of their neighbors are friendly to them. They must remember that the European politicians are bound in a way by the European public opinion. If the public opinion is against Turkish EU membership, then they can not ignore their voters. So how all their recent actions are helping their image to the European populace? 

With their last few allies on European soil (Albania, FYROM and Kosovo) set to join EU and enter under European influence at some point in the future, to whom will they turn, Russia, Armenia, or Georgia? They are not that friendly to them and the Arab nations are not particularly so fond of them either. Their only secure ally in the region is Azerbaijan. 

But why must Turkey always remain a problem in the doorstep for Europe, that must be resolved or dealt with? They could be a stable and reliable partner that poses no threat to any of EU states, eventually perhaps becoming an EU state themselves.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Why have barriers when voting for the EP?

During the last European Parliament elections in 2009 I tried to practice my democratic right and vote. But I found out the last minute that I could not.

Because while I registered myself on the electoral register in Ireland, I did not do so with the Dublin City Council's records.

I thought that being registered as a voter, would entitled me to vote both for the local and European elections that took place the same day in Ireland.

When I arrived in the poling station, they told me that I could not vote for the European elections, only for the local ones. Because I had not filled out a form declaring that I would not vote again in another country.

It is required to register in both lists, in order to vote. Once to put your name on the voters' registry of the country and a second one, to declare that you are only going to vote once during the European elections. You will have to repeat the second procedure in every European election in order to vote.

I thought that I could not vote because I had to vote for Greek MEPs only and that I was not allowed to vote for Irish ones. It seemed to me like a joke the whole thing, because I've been living in Ireland for so long and knew more about Irish political reality than the Greek one. Besides, it is what happens in Ireland that affects me directly, not in Greece.

When I contacted the responsible authorities in Brussels to complain about it, I received an e-mail from the Ombudsman saying that these kind of regulations are put in place, to prevent people voting in one country then going to vote in another country again.

So let's say that I voted over here in Ireland, then took the plane all the way down to Greece and voted again, thus placing two MEPs in the European Parliament (EP) to represent me. It doesn't sound right! I understand of course that such regulations most likely apply to people that live in neighboring countries, like Belgium and Holland.

We generally have a very low turn out in the European elections during the last past few years, so it is unlikely that anyone will make the effort in voting twice. People are simply either not interested, nor convinced that it will make any difference.

In some countries the turn out has been as low as between 20-30 % of the eligible voters. Instead of trying our best to bring people to the poles and increase their interest for the elections, we are placing more red tape and restrictions.

Why put so much legislation into these elections, while it should be as easy as the national ones. Just register and you can vote. We could harmonize our voters' records and once you move in another country and register there to vote, your records could be moved with you in your new country of residence.

Of course there are other things that Europe and EU must solve first than linking their electoral records, to re-enact the interest of the voters for the EP elections.

Better and fairer media coverage of news coming out from Brussels for example. Citizens rarely see any broadcasting or updates directly from the EP, while usually they receive bad news about new EU regulations coming from there.

But at least we could make it easier for citizens that live in another EU country to vote, but are caught up and confused in all the paper work and typicality. When voting for the EP, I do so for the betterment of Europe and to promote my interests according my everyday reality in the country that I live.

Generally we should re-engage the EU citizens' interests for the European Elections, by perhaps reassuring them that there is a real benefit. It is in their interests to have a functioning EP, that it is working for them and it promoting their interests.

Also we could educate our youth during the last year at school and before becoming full citizens, about their rights as voters in national and European elections. Everything I have learned so far, I did so by doing hours of research, contacting the authorities, being hours on line searching different EU portals on issues like this.

The information I gathered was because of my own initiative, while it should be more accessible to our young people via our educational systems.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

What type of multicultural model for Europe?

Europe now-days seems indeed like a middle aged lady, that looks for an identity, a way to move forward and reinvent itself. There are plenty of debates of how to form a European federation, conscience and populace, or how to integrate the various ethnic groups that live in our continent. 

During those debates we hear many different opinions that come from different lobbies or interest groups, all with different vision or agenda about the future of Europe. 

Some political or social groups dream a different model of society, that in their opinion would make our world better. The most liberal of these groups support that we should not focus so much on our national heritage and identity, but we should all become citizens of the world.

History as it is being taught in our schools is one of the things they would love to change, as they are against in cultivating any nationalistic sentiments. That of course is a very radical point of view, because history if is taught the right way, can teach us a lot of our past mistakes and how to avoid repeating them. When we are mature enough we could learn from it and move on to the future with knowledge, not ignorance.

They also promote a new kind of citizenship for the world, a multicultural model that must be safeguarded and promoted in all corners of the Earth. States must be comprised by as many ethnic groups as possible, of all religions, races, and cultures. In other words what we already observe in Europe and other regions. Holding a passport and being a citizen of a country now-days, does not mean that you are ethnically German, Irish, Danish or Greek, rather that you are citizen of this country. 

And rightly so,when you live in a country for so many years pay taxes and contribute, you are a citizen of this country. In fact you become a citizen of this country the very moment you get a job there and start paying taxes. But then why in our passports they still use the term "nationality?"

To me nationality is your ethnic background, something that you are born with and never changes. Citizenship is referring to the state you live in and have your rights, totally different meaning. Being a non national, but a citizen of a country should not mean that you have less rights than the citizens of the predominant ethnic group of the state. But can we be as mature in Europe, or do we still need to feel that our countries are representing an ethnicity as well? 

The nation state was the most wanted model for Europe in the past and most countries tried to integrate and absorb all ethnic minorities. They tried to create a homogenous nation state, promoting one language, consciousness, religion and tradition. Now Europe went to the other "extreme" and our leading elites are trying to create quite the opposite.

Though I agree with the second position, I disagree with their methods. They follow the recipe that to them was apparently successful in USA, by creating a melting pot. The freedom of speech, the democratic right to express freely your opinion, becomes a right to believe any religion and any version of history or culture you want. In the end you end up with people with no ethnic heritage, though with various ethnic backgrounds. But why do we have to assimilate all people or cultures into one?

If they want to make nations to come together and create a successful multicultural society, they must proceed and encourage the opposite. Promote each others' heritage, culture and history onto all other nations, so we can get to know each other better and come closer. The continuous cultural exchange will eventually bind us all together, by creating a culture with elements from all ethnic groups.

Instead they are inspired and follow the American model with all its faults, since America is not the best example of a successful society. They are trying to "Americanize" us all, with the dominant capitalist multicultural "Anglosaxon" culture being promoted upon us all. 

If they want us though to accept such thing, we need to be part of it and see people from Greece for example, the Greek language, culture and heritage, being promoted all over Europe. And vise versa, cultures from all over the continent promoted within Greece. 

In Europe we are already in an "integration mode" and this is the best way to proceed with the integration process, by keeping our culture and heritage as well. Otherwise people will probably reject such new culture as something foreign, if they do not see parts of their own cultural elements in this new European or global culture. 

The world is far more interesting place because it has so many different races, languages, ethnic groups, religions and cultures. Just like biodiversity to biology, the variety of human cultures enriches this planet, even though sometimes it causes problems. We got to understand that the problems arise from the other, darker side of the human nature that is called greed and power mongering. 

Some global elites, in their frustration to control the planet by making everybody feel connected and think the same, are promoting globalization and multiculturalism. In Europe and most of the Western world, this process is particularly obvious. We listen to American music, watch American movies, TV programs, reality television. 

Why would it be wrong to have a more diverse model of this new cultural and political ideology? It is called "multiculturalism" after all, so where is the diversity in it? Even the EU's motto is "United in Diversity". We do not have any French music hits lately, any Italian actors, Czech directors, Greek painters, Estonian movies, Polish designers, Romanian fashion designers or Finnish celebrities.

Instead we get TV shows like the "A country" has Talent, cooking and singing contests or competitions in all countries and languages. The same program but in different language. Nothing to promote intercultural dialogue, our national or European culture and heritage. Rather turn Europeans into Americans and model the future European population after the American one. 

Erasing the rich cultural background of Europe or other regions of the world is not the way forward. We need to preserve it, promote it and be proud of it. Encourage multilingualism and people to discover and experience as many European cultures they can, by the establishment of music festivals and other art oriented events, by traveling, appropriate TV programs and a different education system in our schools.

Only then multiculturalism will succeed, when we are all feeling that we are part of it and contribute something to it. When we are proud of this new cultural project and not feel threatened by the loss of our own heritage. Right now, the "Americanization" of Europe has only bad effects. It is time to redesign our societies and Europe should not be adopting just one, capitalist, Western and consumerist culture. 

Being different is nice and dialogue is good. Being proud of who you are and where you are coming from is an advantage. Respecting and understanding other people's culture is a virtue. Adopting a new way of life and enriching your heritage with so many others is what created human civilization so far. Trying to control it or create one single superior global culture, led to fascism and authoritarian empires in the past.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Did you know about EURES, and the Single Market?

This is the video of mine, that will be shown in the EU Single Market Forum which I will attend. The forum will take place in Krakow, Poland in October. It is organized by the Polish EU Presidency, the European Parliament and the EU Commission. Hopefully will write about it and you will find it informative . Enjoy it.

You may find out more about EURES here:

You may also find the declaration of the Single Market Forum in Krakow here:

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A rogue statelet of Europe, ridicules the whole continent.

It has been 20 years since the independence of FYROM, or the "Macedonian" state and the occasion has been celebrated throughout the country. But with an on-going dispute between the country and Greece about its name and Bulgaria about its language, this country seems to be followed by problems but supported by the powerful.

At their national celebrations on their independence day, they gathered around the statue of Alexander the Great, "cleverly" named as "The warrior on a horse" to avoid challenging Greece, wearing ancient Macedonian soldier uniforms for the men and high priestesses for the women.

The statue of Alexander the Great cost millions of euros to build, in a country that unemployment and poverty are ravaging the people. Instead of trying to create jobs, work on their EU accession commitments and solve their issues with their neighboring countries of Greece and Bulgaria, never mind the inter community differences, they prefer wasting money on a propaganda. They are trying desperately to create some sense of an ethnic coherence and historic continuation, by stealing other nations' heritage.

And not just from Greece but from Bulgaria as well, since building a statue of Alexander the Great was not enough, they have now one of the Bulgarian Czar Samuel, also claimed to be "Macedonian." They were parading in their main squares with flags that include the Greek and Bulgarian parts of the European region of Macedonia, yet they refuse to admit that they have any territorial interest in these regions.

They were also using Greek symbols like the Sun of Vergina as their own again, never mind the fact that the crowds that gathered in those national day celebrations were shouting anti-Greek slogans. And Greece's European partners are still interested in admitting this country in EU.

This country is ruled by the megalomaniac lunatic Mr Gruevski, who rules the country in no different way that Gadaffi ruled Libya, or Kim Jong-Il rules North Korea. He and his government are trying to convince both their nationals and the global community that the real threat comes from Greece, when they are the ones who are lying to their people and deprive them of any prosperity and a chance to enter the European community.

They have created a rogue state in Europe, preaching a false history and modern reality to their nationals, while keep attacking Greece with propaganda in any international event, media, organization, forum or gathering they can find. Their expatriate communities are also taking part in all this, especially those from Australia, Canada and the USA.

When in a recent exhibition in Britain, British historians admitted the Greek heritage and history of Ancient Macedonia, Europeans are still ignorant about it and support the idea that Greece should give its position up and allow this state to enter the European family. And the only purpose of this is so that a number of hardcore federalists, can fulfill their new map of a United Europe with all states being in it.

Macedonia should be a region of Europe, not a country or a nation. There is no Macedonian language, these people speak a Bulgarian dialect and here comes their dispute with Bulgaria itself. My mother is a native Greek Macedonian, that are indigenous to the region. There are Greek Macedonians, Slavic Macedonians and Albanian Macedonians in modern Macedonia, a region of Europe that is comprised by many ethnic groups, so none should be monopolizing its name.

The heritage though of the ancient Kingdom of Macedon remains with Greece,as is the heritage of all ancient regions that the Greeks once lived like Sicily, their colonies in Asia Minor and throughout the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. And that is non negotiable.

Unfortunately such obvious solution is not promoted to the European citizens because of the vested interests of certain groups and the role of the media. Countries like Turkey, the Netherlands, USA and the UK who have heavily invested in FYROM, support their cause in order to make money out of their trade with their country.

Turkey especially is very active in the region, to promote and safeguard its interests in the Southern Balkans. An enemy of my enemy is my friend and so the Turks are very involved in FYROM, as well as in Albania and other countries in the region with Muslim populations. The reasons are of course very obvious. 

Like Kosovo, FYROM is supported by these foreign investors and the international community. These new nations of Europe could not support themselves after their secession from the former Yugoslavia. But the corrupt Gruevski administration uses these money for propaganda and not to better their citizens' living conditions.

As if it is more important to prove to themselves and the World that they are the descendants of Alexander the Great, rather becoming a rich and prosperous country. That makes them an ideal EU candidate state naturally.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Democracy then and now....

Democracy in Ancient Greece, its cradle, was a right and privilege but not only for the elected few or the rich and famous! Every free man that was eligible to be a citizen of Athens could and should take part in the political life of his country; the "koina". Any free citizen could participate as equal if he wished, in this direct form of democracy. It was not the representative type of democracy as most of us are used to now days, rather a more Swiss style democracy.

The first democracies in the World though, were not without faults: the position of women and the slaves, but also the numerous rules on who could be eligible to be called a citizen, thus be able to practice his rights and participate, made valid points for criticism in ancient and modern times. Nevertheless, what the ancient Greeks managed to do, is to offer humanity new political systems other than kingdoms, empires and the laws of most nomadic peoples of the ancient times. It is not by chance that many of the basic political terms in our everyday vocabulary are borrowed from the ancient Greeks: monarchy, aristocracy, tyranny, oligarchy and democracy.

The architects of the first democracies of the modern era, post-revolutionary France and the United States, claimed a line of descent from classical Greek demokratia - 'government of the people by the people for the people', as Abraham Lincoln put it. But at this point it is crucial that we keep in mind the differences between our and the Greeks' systems of democracy - three key differences in particular: of scale, of participation and of eligibility.  (taken by the BBC History website,

We will now focus on differences and comparison between Democracy during the ancient times and how it evolved in the recent years. Today Capitalism prevails and the Markets and the Banks can dictate nations. Money is the only thing worth fighting for and making a profit is the only reason for progress. Nations can be rated by private agencies, and their population can be forced to accept their wishes through their Governments, dictating the future of those nations for generations to come. Our media are controlled by the rich few of this World and they are shaping our perceptions, while they are influencing our beliefs, our needs, the way we think and see this World. This is the freedom of speech that our media are so proud of.

So in our modern times your freedom is the freedom to buy and get rich, to consume, the freedom to be part of the system. You can use of course your democratic right to buy with credit that you can not possibly repay and put yourself in heavy debt, so that you achieve this freedom to consume. You may use to democratic right to vote for your favorite act in the X-Factor or any other reality TV nonsense that they want you to watch. You may use your votes to decide which celebrity you want to watch being kicked out of  similar rubbish shows and you may use your voice to grasp the 15 minute fame they promised you. You are free to believe what they want you to believe, as long as you do not question how the system works. 

You are free to feel special, demand and know your rights: as a consumer. Everyone out there is there to serve you and you may use your democratic rights to get the "customer service" you deserve. Be pleased that you can spend and consume, because that is what is going to bring you happiness. If any employee in a company that you may go to fulfill your democratic need to be served and pampered, does not satisfy your freedom to do so, you may again use your democratic right to complain and make his/her life more miserable, even lose his job!

Again democracy and freedom is something that we can give to an unfortunate nation that can not experience it, let's say Iraq and Afghanistan, with an invasion and bombings. It is our democratic right and obligation to give those people the freedom they so desperately need, either they want it or not. If they do not, they simply do not know it...yet! Since when democracy can be imposed with weapons, is something I can not fathom. And all that so that we can create new markets, new free people and nations that will use their democratic right to consume, thus supporting the Capitalist system and making some people very, very rich!

That is what Capitalism has done to us, with the Western mistaken idea of "freedom" and "democracy." Instead of being an active citizen and be part of the governance of your country, they just turned you into a manic consumer. Instead of having an opinion on how your country or the society you live in should deal with the arising challenges, they want you to have an opinion on each celebrity and their moronic lifestyle. And no wonder; they are the best advertisement for the lifestyle they want you to have, they are the ambassadors of this new Western version of "democracy" and "freedom".

Instead of getting involved in the political life of your country, you are being part of every reality TV show, in order to become another celebrity; and of course avail the lifestyle that is forced upon you with thousands of advertisements bombarding you everywhere from a young age. So who represents you in the Parliament then and what is your relationship with your "representatives?" How can you check their work and actions, on what criteria you vote for them, and how much our Governments really represent us? Well if you can question all the above and even ponder on them, then you have just made the first step in releasing the true Democrat in you!

Well done!