In today’s issue of “thegardian” the first thing that catches an eye is a title: “Australian heads to Greece to help pensioner pictured crying outside bank”! Greece is on our minds today. Here and there we hear “Unable to repay its IMF debt, Greece is now in default, which assures the country’s exit from Europe”. How can this be called, rigor, austerity, stringency, rigidity, whatever, but unfortunately, current seeds of it will find their patron as troublesome blossoms in the nearest future. What EU is doing to Greece now, as a matter of fact will have a boomerang effect on EU economy and not only economy, its international reputation altogether and role in the global politics in future! Greece looks like a scapegoat today due to the EU and its “pragmatic” deeds! Should this be understood as punitive operation in effect? Is this, how EU treats its friends and allies? What a shame! Let’s stop for a while and look back at the matter with the help of just little analytical thinking. Greece is an ancient country, with ancient nation, who are descendants of Old Byzantine Empire, with its rich history, architecture, art & cuisine, what makes it if not the world’s best, at least one of the best historical travel sites that has immense opportunities for tourism development! Greece’s rich bequest is reflected by its UNESCO World Heritage Sites that count seventeen, of which fifteen are inscribed based on “cultural” criteria, while the remaining two, Mount Athos and Meteora are inscribed for meeting both “cultural” and “natural” criteria. This places the country among the most spectacular countries in Europe and in the world!
The modern Greek state, established in 1830, trails its roots to the civilization of Ancient Greece, which is considered the cradle of all Western civilization. As a matter of fact, the world awes Greece a lot, as to the birthplace of Western democracy, philosophy, the Olympic games, Western literature, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, at last, but not least, Western drama, tragedy and comedy. Throughout the centuries, cultural and technological progress of Greece have notably influenced the world civilization, having been conveyed to the East through Alexander the Great’s triumphs, and to the West via merger into the Roman Empire and the succeeding Byzantine Empire. Furthermore, Orthodox World inherited the Greek traditions from the Greek Orthodox Church. Greece has been a democratic and developed country with an advanced high-income economy, a high quality of life and quite high standard of living. A founding member of the United Nations, the 10th member to join the European Communities (progenitor to the European Union) Greece has been part of the Euro-zone since 2001, along with the membership to a number of other international institutions, such as the Council of Europe, NATO, OECD, OSCE and the WTO. Therewith, Greece, which used to be one of the world’s largest shipping powers, with the largest economy in the Balkans, has been an important regional investor. Actually, Greece didn’t look like a poor country, before it became part of the EU. However, the question is – what happened? Why did uniting with the EU community made the country all of a sudden so vulnerable?
To be explicit, from the huge sums borrowed by Greece the country gained almost nothing, as a number of experts state in their arguments. Frankly speaking, the money was given to the private sector creditors, including the German and French banks. Greece only possessed “wastes” from these EU “bounties”, as it comes out, most of the money was paid to secure the European banking system. As for the International Monetary Fund and other official creditors, they actually do not experience any real and acute need in Greece’s debt. If their work process continues as usual, the money taken is expected to be returned back to Greece in the form of a new loan.
Given the common trends of regional and international cooperation, with a focus on building mutual security system, along with the strive of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine to become part of the Euro-Atlantic zone, should this be understood as a signal for associate states that they need to think twice, before they choose dealing with the EU in future? So many questions, but too few answers today! What direction do the world move in these latter days, is a concern of most people today, and not only in Greece. What do we, as contemporary humanity, want to achieve with this? Anticipation of immediate, vast, positive changes would sound very naive and infantile today. Nevertheless, let’s hope that the bottle is half full and hold on for the better tomorrow!