e-Dialogues: Alexis (or the Futile Battle Pact)

GEMMA TORRES, Doctor in Philology

The title of this post belongs to a wonderful book by Marguerite Yourcenar, which seems to describe the delicate situation of Alexis Tsipras. The newly elected Greek Prime Minister faces a Herculean task (yes, we are children of Greek culture and it shows), a task that meets the definition of tragedy as a situation in which none of the possible outcomes are good. What is now happening in Greece is a real, Greek, tragedy.

Yiannis Stamatakos, an expert in Greek politics, outlined the desperate situation in his country and provided some shocking information: the debt is 170% of GDP, 30% of SMEs have disappeared, youth unemployment exceeds 50%, 100,000 Greek professionals are working abroad, wages were lowered unlimitedly … The country, in short, is in a real humanitarian crisis.

Within this framework, elections were held in which SYRIZA was able to achieve an absolute majority. Yiannis Stamatakos, in questions from the audience, said that in his opinion Tsipras was chosen because the Greeks thought that almost any option would be better than what we had known so far. When people have nothing to lose, the situation can become dangerous.

Along with Yiannis Stamatakos Juan Jose Alvarez, Daniel Innerarity and as moderator, Katerina Yiannibas also participated in this conference organized by Globernance. At one point in the conference, the dialogue turned to philosophy (why not, Greece being the country of Socrates and Plato?) And questions as to the meaning of Europe were raised. In an asymmetric EU is understanding possible? Quo vadis, Europe? It almost looked like it was going to become a conversation about fundamental questions: Who are we? Where did we come from? Where are we going?

It is clear that Europe must rethink its project. Both Stamatakos as Alvarez and Innerarity agreed that the European project must exist, but it must be reformulated. Are the Germans right when they claim Greek debt? Probably yes. Have the Greeks not received a harsh enough punishment? Surely too, especially when you consider that after eight years of suffering extreme austerity measures, the Greek debt has only grown. How to solve this situation? Well, this is the task ahead for Syriza and the European Union.

As you might imagine, the talk was stimulating. Don’t miss out on the next chapter because it has only just begun.



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