The vision of the founder of New Democracy for a Greece within the European family, but also for a united and strong Europe to face the challenges, was mentioned by the former Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, speaking tonight at an event of the “Konstantinos G. Karamanlis” foundation on “Konstantinos Karamanlis – The course of Greece in the United Europe “.
The former prime minister referred warmly to the Greece-France agreement, which he described as a “national success”, harshly criticized the European leadership for the current situation in the EU, stressed that our country is facing a national threat from Turkey, highlighted Konstantinos’ efforts. Karamanlis who aimed at national unity, and emphasized the choice of K. Karamanlis to focus on policies of social sensitivity and justice.
The former prime minister began his speech by wishing a speedy recovery to the president of the Movement for Change, Fofi Gennimata, expressing the wish that he would return to public life healthy.
Costas Karamanlis described the founder of ND as “an emblematic figure of the post-war period” and stressed that “the country’s recovery and labor development after the wars, the restoration of democracy in adverse conditions, and integration into the European family, have been universally recognized inside and outside Greece ”.
“The agreement with France is a national success”
The former prime minister criticized Europe for “ambivalent attitude towards Turkey, which is behaving like a riot in the wider region, making demands that blatantly offend both the letter and the spirit of International Law and International Treaties.”
“In this regard, the recent defense agreement between Greece and France is particularly encouraging and is an undeniable national success. Not only because of its importance in defending common values and interests, but also because it signals a comprehensive understanding of the course of Europe. I hope it will be a step towards the Common Foreign and Defense Policy of the European Union, a step necessary and already overdue in the new world environment “, stressed Costas Karamanlis.
He stressed that, especially with regard to Greece and Cyprus, Turkey directly threatens, not only with rights and obligations under international law, but also with the territorial integrity of countries – members of the European Union itself, and accused some EU states of “turning a blind eye to Turkey”.
“Some states, in fact, by adopting an attitude of strict neutrality, indirectly but clearly, seem to turn a blind eye to Turkey, that is, to encourage its unacceptable and delinquent behavior. Needless to say, the borders of the member states of the Union are also European borders, and that the respect and faithful observance of the rules of International Law is a fundamental axiom deriving from the system of principles and values of Europe “, said Mr. Karamanlis.
He added that Greece is able to effectively defend its territorial integrity and rights, with its diplomatic action, its alliances, old and new, with the combat and deterrent capability of our armed forces, but stressed that it is necessary to from all of the circumstances, national solidarity and conciliation.
“But Europe must realize that, by blurring and trying to reconcile the incompatible, it is leading to a stalemate. It cannot but impose sanctions on overtly aggressive behaviors. Europe must put its principles and values into practice. “Not only for the benefit of its members, but primarily to find itself and its path to tomorrow,” said the former prime minister.
EU national security framework
The dominant element, apart from the obvious political and economic benefits of membership, was the search for a national security framework, said Costas Karamanlis, referring to the goal of the founder of ND to integrate Greece into the European family.
According to Mr. Karamanlis, the European perspective of the country was for Konstantinos Karamanlis primarily the appropriate solution to the traditional instability of the wider region, the geopolitical rivalries of the great powers, the threats and dangers for the nation, as well as the need to seek protection from the current powerful protagonists of the international scene, but which in fact led to relations of inequality.
According to the former Prime Minister, Konstantinos Karamanlis, like all the great European visionaries of his time, from De Gaulle, Antenauer, Monnet and de Gasperi to D ‘Estaing and Helmut Schmidt, deeply believed that the power of Europe is united, in its power to ensure peace, prosperity and security on our continent, in its beneficial influence on world affairs.
“And this appears even more urgent and urgent today, following the developments in Afghanistan. “Europe must learn from the unfortunate outcome of its involvement in this country and finally develop a more autonomous voice in the international arena, accompanied by corresponding capabilities at all levels,” he said.
Enlargement is hasty and untimely
Mr. Karamanlis referred to the current EU and criticized it, speaking of an incomplete European edifice that does not meet the expectations of either its founders or European citizens, while describing the enlargement of the Union as “hasty and untimely”, without having previously secured the deepening of the European institutions. He also spoke about the economic crisis and uncertainty, the weakening of the welfare state, the intensifying geopolitical rivalries, which he said have played their role in the current picture of stagnation.
“Europe today, despite its power (economic, political, cultural, even military), is unable to play a leading role on the international stage. It fails to decisively influence developments in relation to conflicts, tensions, rivalries and arbitrariness in critical areas of the earth, even in its neighborhood, “said Mr. Karamanlis and added:
“It has not been able to formulate a unified and effective policy on the big immigration problem that it is facing and will face in an even more acute way in the future. He showed timidity and difficulty in dealing with the pandemic. Both in the health sector and in the recovery measures from the recession caused by the pandemic. “In contrast to the brave package adopted by the United States, the European Union is much more restrained, accompanied by constant warnings about its temporary nature, until the rigid rules of discipline and austerity are restored.”
As he said even in the economic crisis of the last decade, “there were striking weaknesses, in general, but also in particular towards our country. Without ignoring and underestimating our own weaknesses, mistakes and omissions, a program was imposed that was largely punitive in nature. And, as he has repeatedly admitted, he is being checked – afterwards, of course – for serious errors in both the recipe and the desired result “.
The former prime minister concluded his critique of the EU by saying that “petty interests, sterile rivalries and outdated national egos, of which Karamanlis prophetically warned, have reappeared and are often given the impression that the real priorities of European Union ”.
Social Justice is necessary
Speaking about Konstantinos Karamanlis, the former prime minister said that in dramatic times for Hellenism, he returned home, taking on the heavy responsibility of saving the country from the danger of collapse and national catastrophe.
He described him as “an emblematic political figure of the post-war period” and stressed that his top achievements, the country’s recovery and hard work in the difficult first decades after the world and civil war, the restoration and consolidation of democracy in adverse conditions and nationally critical and the country’s integration into the European family, a product of a long and arduous effort, have been universally recognized, inside and outside Greece “.
Mr. Karamanlis focused on the deeper political beliefs of Konstantinos Karamanlis and the principles on which his political vision and his diverse action were built.
Using the words of the founder of ND at the first congress of the party in 1979, he said:
“When a people cannot achieve social justice within the framework of democracy, its confidence in the idea of democracy is shaken,” he said, adding that the condition for the proper functioning of a democratic state is that citizens feel that the state treats them with equality and justice.
“When the citizens, a large portion of them, feel wronged, marginalized or despised, democracy is injured and, to an extreme extent, undermined,” said Mr. Karamanlis, adding:
“Obviously, this position does not justify constant and unrealistic claims of any social group, nor does it mean that the state assumes all the burdens and responsibilities of the citizens. However, it means that the state has a duty to ensure the well-being of all citizens, especially of course those who, for various reasons, have a greater need “.