Mass protests disrupting normal life

Greek Centre of European Studies and Research
The last few months of 2008 left a rather unpleasant feeling to the vast majority of Greeks. The government, haunted by rumors of a major politico-financial scandal, found itself unable to defend itself adequately on moral grounds while the situation of the economy was becoming alarming even before the eruption of the world financial crisis. On top of all that, the killing of a 15 year old boy by a policeman in the center of Athens on 6 December led to a wave of protests of unprecedented violence that disrupted normal life not only in the capital but in many other towns as well. These events were widely reported/publicised internationally and paved the ground for those who wanted to depict Greece as the ideal ‘victim’ for rumors about the country’s expulsion from the Eurozone, due to its bad financial situation.[1] Meanwhile, Greek eastern islets are continuously disputed by Turkey, a fact that brings forward the argument that there are some contradictions in the overall Greek foreign policy: The political system in Greece continues supporting the Turkish candidature for EU membership for strategic reasons, despite certain conceptions of the Greek public opinion, experiencing a sense of threat once more. However, the ‘perpetuating myths’ are a necessity in foreign policy.[2]
The fact that Greece undertakes the Presidency of OSCE is not given significant importance in Greece, despite the fact that the role of this organisation in 2009 will be quite significant.[3]
At the end of the day, the surrounding deleterious political atmosphere continues to put pressure on the recently reshuffled Karamanlis government ‘to do something drastic’ or to call an early election.

[1] See K. Moschonas: “The back-stage rumors on Greece’s ‘expulsion’ from the Eurozone”, in Eleftherotypia-Economia, 18 January 2009, p. 4.

[2] See the references in footnote 10; Tassos. Giannitsis (ex Foreign Minister) in the January 2009 issue (No 21) VIMA IDEON; J. Kartalis: “The new tension [between Greece and Turkey]”, in To Vima, 7 December 2008.

[3] See P.C. Ioakimidis: “Greece in the Presidency of OSCE”, in Ta Nea, 16 January 2009.