EuroNews 02-2007, From Greece: Comments on the EU

Fifty years after the creation of the European Communities System, Europe’s role as a world actor has obviously changed a lot! Today we belong in a common area not only in geographical terms but mainly in economical and political terms.

The spirit of this action was to unite the different European nations into a common world and this could be achieved better through trade and economy. The common European market focuses on the principle of liberty, of not only goods and services but also release of human and business installation in other member states, to act upon their occupation. Europe is a common world of nations with common origin and orientation who are loyal to the principles of liberty, unity, and respect of human rights. A civilised world where cohesion and balance of different kinds of policies are legitimate. Now Europe is considered an institution without of course to lose its geographical features, as a continent. Nevertheless, we can’t place borders at a constitution, can we? There is a strong debate over this issue. How far can the EU expand? Its largest enlargement in 2003 with 10 new member states created thoughts about its capability to incorporate them and continue without unbalances to its cohesion. The impended adhesion of Romania and Bulgaria reinforces conservative scenarios, which claim that the EU is not ready to adapt new members’. At the same time Turkeys’ candidacy troubles public opinion. EU is a tolerate multinational-multicultural area but could it accept an Islamic nation with a 60million population and a “confused” state system where the existence of the basic principles of the EU are doubtful? The Greek government supports the Turkish candidacy; however, our relations as neighbours are always on a tight rope, so we can’t guarantee a peaceful future for the area.

On the other hand, Europe is not a paradise as one may think. It has its advantages and its disadvantages too. Speaking about Greece, problems became clear after the coming of the euro currency. It seems that the adoption of the euro is still problematic because people are complaining that everything became expensive! It is true that we consider 1euro coin not so important amount of money to spend, but if we think about that before the common currency with 1euro (=340.75 drachmas) we could buy e.g. 4 kilos of potatoes, now we can buy only 1,5 kilos! The difference is obvious … and unfortunately has many results in every day life!
Greece is one of the old EU member-states, and it should be more mature to face such problems. Unfortunately as a country, we are always first from the bottom, in almost every statistic information regarding development levels. On the other hand, we are from the first ones in “bad rates” … But as Greeks we are a Mediterranean nation which –in order to work well – needs its time … however, Europe works rapidly … and that’s why we find difficulty to follow its steps.

Now that Balkan countries are getting into the EU path we should be their leader and consultant.Moreover we have to face the fact that we are considered mature and ready to continue with less “help” (in all fields-especially economic) from EU projects, as the priority is for the rookies. The following decades EU will face a lot for sure. Its future is challenging and requests focus on the real needs of the EU citizens. We should have in mind that we participate in a unique organization of cooperation, solidarity and peace, which develops opportunities to overcome problems of the past and create a better future. Considering that the world is still a dangerous place, as Europeans we should send a message of mutual cooperation and friendship to the rest of the world, willing to share the benefits which contribute to stability and prosperity for the global system.

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