Admin’s preface: Sad thing Greece proves it cannot regulate its own affairs in a transparent manner. Corruption runs so deep in the political realm that no catharsis has ever come to any scandal. In a way we are inviting intervention from abroad since we are unwilling–not incapable–of sorting out our mess. Let our EU allies then prove they are not just regulators and tyrans–they should also be contributors committed to the founding values of the European ideal.
Some time ago, I posted an article titled “Much ado about a list“. I still stand by its content. I thought at the time that I would never again spend time on this issue. Recent developments have changed my mind.
Objectively, this list is ‘peanuts’. If I recall correctly, the total sum involved was about 2-3 BEUR. However, it seems that this list has assumed an entirely different connotation than one could originally suspect. Suddenly, it appears that this list might be the key for unlocking the door for much greater corruption schemes having gone on in Greece in recent years (Siemens & Co.). And it has become the prototype example of how the Greek political elite deals with such issues.
What role does the EU play in all of this? Deafening silence! Should the EU play a role? Based on previous precedents, yes it should!
In early 2000, two democratically elected parties of Austria, which together represented an absolute majority in parliament, decided to form a coalition government. As it happened, the EU did not like one of the two parties. The EU thought that this party did not meet the high common values which the EU shared. For a while, it looked like the EU would proceed with a process aiming at expelling Austria from the EU. After long negotiations, the EU could be satisfied that a 3-person team of ‘wise men’ should visit Austria and pass judgement whether Austria could still be regarded as a civilized country. The ‘wise men’ passed positive judgement.
Having said this, what seems to be going on in Greece’s ‘triangle of power’ (politicians, media, oligarchs) does not come as a surprise to anyone. The debates/votes around the Lagarde list have only highlighted this situation. It is certainly an unacceptable situation; a situation which can under no circumstances be reconciled with EU values. Finally, a situation which makes the common man and woman of Greece the fools; the fools who have no choice but to pay for the corruption of the mighty.
In my opinion, if the EU is worth any salt at all, it should involve itself in this issue. Yes, it is a domestic issue in Greece and the EU has no business in meddling with domestic issues. However, it has become much more than a domestic issue. It has become a question of who stands up and lets himself be counted to support those Greeks who desperately need support.
I think that if the EU decided to send three ‘wise men’ to Greece to examine how power is exercised there, taking the Lagarde list as a first case in point, a very large part of the Greek population would develop new sympathies for the EU.
So, where does the EU stand on the Lagarde list???