Παρασκευή, 16 Ιανουαρίου 2015

Europe’s Greek moment and Greece’s European moment

Posted on 11:15 μ.μ. by ΣΠΙΘΑΣ


 
Interview with Antonis Liakos

You were just saying that Greece´s moment in Europe is now. Perhaps that sounds self-centred?
Indeed, many will think so. They will say: Greece is a small country; it must adapt itself to Europe. On the other hand, how can we explain the European and global interest in the upcoming Greek elections? A lot of the political debates and academic articles   being published now, regard Greece, and are linking the Greek to the European future.

It is not just about what happens in a small country. It´s about Europe’s future direction. Some say sarcastically, "SYRIZA doesn´t provide answers on how to change Greece, how can it change Europe?" That’s the issue. Greece intends to actively participate in the shaping  of   European perspectives. Something like that has never happened. Greek elections are defined by the dilemmas of today's Europe. They display, from a reverse point of view, just how deeply Greece is involved in the European dilemmas.
 

Would you like to elaborate more on these dilemmas?

 On the 10th of November I attended a speech by Economics Nobel Prize winner Christopher Pissarides, at Harvard University. Pissarides said the recession and unemployment rates in Europe will worsen, because the policy being currently pursued is structurally defective. This policy attacks labour markets via austerity programs, while the issues that should be tackled with concern debt and the politico-economic riddle. Eurozone countries have the same currency, while interest rates and loan agreements vary across them, so that some win, while others lose. Pissarides put great emphasis on the issue of debt, highlighting the Christian term «forgiveness». 
 
This means a generalized and agreed debt cut, and it is in the spirit of SYRIZA's proposal for a European debt relief conference, ensuring of course that no additional debts will be generated. As you see, we are not talking about an eccentric or populist anti-European proposal, but about serious involvement in the solution of the dept issue, Europe´s problem par excellence.
 
This is not a choice though, it´s a necessity...
 
 
 
* Antonis Liakos: (b. 1947) is a professor of Contemporary History and History of Historiography at the University of Athens and managing editor of the journal Historein
 
 

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