Greek Initiative for an agenda 2014 for enlargement

Inso­far as enlarge­ment is con­cerned, the focus of atten­tion in Greece lies in the efforts/expectations to bring around pos­i­tive results for the West­ern Balka­ns by 2014 (“Agen­da 2014”). This goal cor­re­sponds to inten­sive Greek efforts under­tak­en ear­li­er on, which Greek Prime Min­is­ter George Papan­dreou (who is also For­eign Min­is­ter) pub­licly reit­er­at­ed, i.a., in Athens in the course of a pre­sen­ta­tion at The Economist/Economist Intel­li­gence Unit (EIU) con­fer­ence of 29 April 2010. Still, Serb Prime Min­is­ter Mirko Cvetkovic, in this very same con­text, was clear­ly quite hes­i­tant to hope for such a time-frame (while he stressed the pre-emi­nent impor­tance of mak­ing the Serb econ­o­my and polit­i­cal con­text EU-com­pli­ant, rather than fight for acces­sion). In May 2010, the Greek ini­tia­tive for an “Agen­da 2014” for the West­ern Balka­ns was mir­rored by region­al EU mem­ber states Bul­gar­ia and Roma­nia, at a meet­ing on the lev­el of for­eign ministers.

With­in the same con­text of the West­ern Balka­ns, Greece hopes that the promise of EU acces­sion would serve as a major polit­i­cal attrac­tion so as to ren­der For­mer Yugoslav Repub­lic of Mace­do­nia (FYROM) posi­tions more adapt­ed to Greek expec­ta­tions in the nev­er-end­ing name-cum-nation­al­ism dis­pute of the two sides. In this mat­ter, no pos­i­tive evo­lu­tion is to be noted.

This Greek “glob­al­is­ing” approach to the West­ern Balka­ns does not exclude Croat acces­sion, which cer­tain­ly looks more mature; ear­li­er thoughts (sure­ly not offi­cial­ly voiced) to block Croatia’s acces­sion, in order to enhance the chances of Serb par­tic­i­pa­tion in the enlarge­ment process, should be con­sid­ered unfound­ed, since the rel­a­tive polit­i­cal stature of Greece in the EU has vis­i­bly shrunk.

The per­spec­tives of Turk­ish EU acces­sion are still cen­tral to Greek for­eign pol­i­cy. In a three-day vis­it of Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan to Athens (along with vice-Prime Min­is­ter Ali Baba­can and For­eign Min­is­ter Ahmet Davu­to­glu and sev­er­al oth­er min­is­ters) in May 2010, the leit­mo­tiv of Greece’s con­tin­u­ing sup­port of Turk­ish acces­sion was vivid­ly present with the bare­ly con­cealed hope that “the way from Ankara to Brus­sels” goes through Athens. This sup­pos­ed­ly entails a bridg­ing of the dis­putes over the Aegean, the minori­ties issue in Thrace and the Cyprus issue to a mutu­al­ly accept­able solu­tion. Still, what­ev­er “low pol­i­tics” mat­ters were pos­i­tive­ly dis­cussed in Athens, mat­ters of “high pol­i­tics” remained stub­born­ly blocked. More­over, in his more exten­sive pre­sen­ta­tion of future Turk­ish pri­or­i­ties, Baba­can clear­ly, though not aggres­sive­ly, explained Turkey’s cen­tre of grav­i­ty shift east­wards. Thus, using EU-Turk­ish rela­tions as a lever for Greek-Turk­ish (or sub-region­al) equi­lib­ria to be restored looks less and less like a valid propo­si­tion.11Kostas Zepos: The Ques­tion­able Out­come of Turkey’s Road towards the Euro­pean Union [in Greek], in: Inter­na­tion­al and Euro­pean Pol­i­tics (Vol.17), p. 71.

The main oppo­si­tion par­ty, cen­tre-right New Democ­ra­cy (ND), is cur­rent­ly shift­ing towards far more reluc­tant posi­tions regard­ing the per­spec­tives of Turk­ish acces­sion. The far-right Pop­u­lar Ortho­dox Ral­ly (LAOS) is vir­u­lent­ly opposed to the idea of “Turkey in Europe”, main­ly based on pur­port­ed cul­tur­al dif­fer­ences.22For an overview of the opin­ions towards the Turkey’s EU acces­sion, see K. Zepos: The doubt­ful end of Turkey’s road to the EU [in Greek], in: Vyron Theodor­opou­los: The diplo­mat and the teacher, Papazissis/MFA [in Greek], Athens 2010, p. 39.

At the same time Greece keeps a low pro­file con­cern­ing the Union for the Mediter­ranean, notwith­stand­ing the fact that this ini­tia­tive is of French ori­gin (and Greece tries to keep close to French moves) and that Athens was quite enthu­si­as­tic two years ago when the project was cer­e­mo­ni­ous­ly launched.33See N. Fran­gakis: Turkey and the Union for the Mediter­ranean, in: N. Fran­gakis (ed.): Turkey, Europe, Mediter­ranean [in Greek], EKEME/Ant. N. Sakkoulas Publ. 2009, pp. 89–115; A.A. Fatouros: The Union for the Mediter­ranean: A new pres­ence in our neigh­bour­hood; P. Kasakos: The Mediter­ranean Union – vision, prac­ti­cal mea­sures, lim­its; D.K. Xenakis/D.N. Chryso­choou: The Mediter­ranean in tran­si­tion; A. Korakas: Agri­cul­ture and agri­cul­tur­al inlands in the Mediter­ranean [in Greek], in: N. Fran­gakis (ed.): Turkey, Europe, Mediter­ranean [in Greek], EKEME/Ant. N. Sakkoulas Publ. 2009, pp. 89–115.

    Footnotes

  • 1Kostas Zepos: The Ques­tion­able Out­come of Turkey’s Road towards the Euro­pean Union [in Greek], in: Inter­na­tion­al and Euro­pean Pol­i­tics (Vol.17), p. 71.
  • 2For an overview of the opin­ions towards the Turkey’s EU acces­sion, see K. Zepos: The doubt­ful end of Turkey’s road to the EU [in Greek], in: Vyron Theodor­opou­los: The diplo­mat and the teacher, Papazissis/MFA [in Greek], Athens 2010, p. 39.
  • 3See N. Fran­gakis: Turkey and the Union for the Mediter­ranean, in: N. Fran­gakis (ed.): Turkey, Europe, Mediter­ranean [in Greek], EKEME/Ant. N. Sakkoulas Publ. 2009, pp. 89–115; A.A. Fatouros: The Union for the Mediter­ranean: A new pres­ence in our neigh­bour­hood; P. Kasakos: The Mediter­ranean Union – vision, prac­ti­cal mea­sures, lim­its; D.K. Xenakis/D.N. Chryso­choou: The Mediter­ranean in tran­si­tion; A. Korakas: Agri­cul­ture and agri­cul­tur­al inlands in the Mediter­ranean [in Greek], in: N. Fran­gakis (ed.): Turkey, Europe, Mediter­ranean [in Greek], EKEME/Ant. N. Sakkoulas Publ. 2009, pp. 89–115.

The reports focus on a report­ing peri­od from Decem­ber 2009 until May 2010. This sur­vey was con­duct­ed on the basis of a ques­tion­naire that has been elab­o­rat­ed in March and April 2010. Most of the 31 reports were deliv­ered in May 2010.

The EU-27 Watch No. 9 receives sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing from the Otto Wolff-Foun­da­tion, Cologne, in the frame­work of the ‘Dia­log Europa der Otto Wolff-Stiftung’, and finan­cial sup­port from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion is not respon­si­ble for any use that may be made of the infor­ma­tion con­tained therein.