February 20, 2013
On September, 19 the French President François Hollande paid a visit in Athens, Greece, and had protocol discussions with the troika of coalition government and the President of the Republic Mr. Karolos Papoulias. Accidentally, this day the mass media were on strike and unfortunately the only coverage made was by the public television, where the presentators and journalists came back to their seats to cover this special arrival.
The visit of President Hollande was particularly presented from a quite unsual perspective. In fact, the essence of the coverage was focused on the long-lasting bilateral relationship between Greece and France dated from the Greek War on Independence in 1821, the strong partnership both countries have developed inside the European Union all these decades, the cultural and commercial ties that remain intact from the economic crisis and the falldown of Eurozone. The analysts invited to comment on the visit were equally focusing on how important are the bilateral relations of the countries, how important is France for European stability, and how definite is the importance of this visit in a period that Greece lacks credibility in the global political scene and the markets.
On the contrary, there was no analysis nor information upon the fundamental purpose of this visit. In this respect, it was not the interest of Hollande for the developments the Greek government has (not) achieved in debt handling, nor a simple “ballade” in the state-experiment of austerity politics in Eurozone, but the commercial or better the unilateral commercial interest of France for selling munition and warfare ships to the Greek navy. And why doing so? Because there are rumours or better concrete developments towards the fact that Greece is preparing an entire plan of designing and exploiting its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the resourceful undersoil areas of its territory.France pays a special interest in this process and for that purpose it has invited French gas companies to participate in the studies and the preparation of the drilling process in the Aegean Sea. The provision of warships is destined to secure the control of any possible threat led by Turkey, while being considered as a firm interest on sharing the potential profits of such an exploitation.
This was the major reason for the visit of President Hollande and certainly not the confirmation of support against the Greek austerity program. In other words, and this is a general estimation, the Greek state has turned out to be a quite weak state where decisions are made without the consensus of the public. The exploitation of the country’s valuable resources is definitely an issue that pre-supposes public verdict, and this can be established through the initiation of referendum, as of any other issue that deals with the public good.
Such developments and imposed policies can only prove that the government does not respect the state’s wealth and does not take into account the will of the Greek people. It is reasonable to point out that Greece, under the very specific conditions in which it is found and the lack of any negotiable power, could be easily turned to and established as a modern protectorate with no determined sovereignty. And this is a “badge” that once achieved, it cannot be altered afterwards in the perception of the lendors. President Hollande wanted to guarantee that in the following months Greece will be a politically stable state so that his plans can be achieved with no interference or abrupts. Whether this will be finally accomplished on not, it is another issue.Dimitris Rapidis