Saturday, 11 January 2014

When Greece gets to boss Germany around . . .

There is something decidedly weird about the fact that Greece, economic basket case of Europe, is about to take the reins of the European Union.

This week, it became Greece's turn to hop into the driving seat of the EU under the traditional six-month rotation that allows all 28 member states to have a turn at the leadership.
But for those of us who have watched and reported the last four years of savage cuts endured by Greek workers, the national sacrifice, austerity drives, outbreaks of horrendous  street violence and finally, the multi billion bailouts needed to salvage the Euro, the notion of Greece telling France and Germany and, dare I say, even Italy what to do is, um, surreal.
Greece has been through an unimaginably difficult time. Antonio Samaras, Greek PM, said yesterday that his country has lost standards of living like no other nation since World War II. Still, he added, taking on the presidency at a time when growth was returning to Greece offered room for the nation to "be optimistic”.
Evangelos Venizelos, the Foreign Minister and leader of the Pasok Socialist party, was even more Polly Anna-esque suggesting it showed “the equality of all member states” insisting that “Greece is rising to the occasion and showing we are up to par.” 
So, Athens is now all primed up to set the European agenda - and try to prove that the worst is over. 
Here's hoping that the leadership are well stocked up in these. . .

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