The political significance of the visit by the German Chancellor to Greece analyzed from a diplomatic point of view.
The 9th of October 2012 was the first visit by Mrs. Merkel to Greece, since the elections of 2009, the signing of the Memorandums and the arrival of the Troika. As reported by the media, she did not say anything new. So why did she come in the first place?
The strict Protocol of the International Relations was sort of violated by this visit. We all do remember the attempt of Mr. Tsipras, before the elections, to meet the Prime Minister of France, as well as the attempt of the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, to participate in the Eurogroup a few months ago, due to a health incident of the Greek Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras, without success.
These cases cannot to be considered personal, political or national failures. All this has to do with reciprocity and a simple application of the regulations of the International Relations and its Protocol.
The main failure of the Greek political scene is that with the Troika’s insistence on severe austerity, the country is facing a very crucial negotiation defeat. Counterparts of the Greek politicians are not anymore the European political leaders but a Troika that acts as a mediator – an arbiter between Greece and the rest of Europe.
What the visit of Merkel really underscores is the violation of this hierarchy and implies, with greater clarity, the need for healing the wounds, providing oxygen to a suffocating economy, opposing the economic measures taken in recent years, and to make choices which bolster the internal economy instead of harming the private sector. Or at least this should have been the message of Mrs. Merkel. On the contrary, Greece has become an experiment in the application of a harsh form of a new liberal, politico economic recipe. Instead of reforming the entire system (accepted by the majority of the society), the political and economic masterminds have resorted to extremely rightwing and incoherent measures.
But what was the sudden desire to visit and whom was it really targeting? As we all know, the venue and the timing of official visits have a specific significance. Maybe even more than the agenda, in some cases, when it comes to International Negotiations. At first glance, perhaps she wants to avoid a further depreciation of Greece and to make the connection – finally – between the political situation of the country and the economy. Something that never happened until today. Or was it to show that Greece is part of the Eurozone and that the Greek Prime Minister is considered as an equal among the rest of the Euro leaders.
After the pressure of the European counterparts on the IMF to prepare a correct (and positive) report for Greece, the power of the political dimension was fully revealed. Of course this change of attitude is intertwined with the real causes.
The Euroleaders want to avoid covering financial holes of the country, as well as, keep Greece in the Eurozone, mainly due to geopolitics.In conclusion, the Chancellor, by strengthening the current Government in political terms, has a three-pronged benefit: a complete financial recovery, without participation of the European Central Bank; safekeeping of strategic acquisitions; and finally, avoiding political instability not only to Greek society from the unfair measures, but also to the political leadership from backlash related to the pending austerity measures that must be voted upon.
Tης Μαριέττα Μπακαλοπούλου