Wednesday, 13 December 2017 | News today: 13

Vallianatos: The name of the country defines the name of the nation and identity

May I remind you all that the issue here is definitely not only the name, because as we all know by now, the new government has adopted the whole agenda of the other two leading Greek parties including the Macedonian identity culture and language. This means steps backwards.

Grigoris Vallianatos is leader of one of the few Greek political parties whose priority is classical liberalism where the church must be separated from the state, the service in the army is mandatory, advocates decriminalization of the use of soft drugs etc. This former adviser to the former President of PASOK Georgios Papandreou, who had to withdraw from the advisory position after he publicly spoke that Macedonia has the right to be called as it feels, is one of the leading fighters for human rights in Greece. He has been engaged in number of cases of defending persons persecuted because of their ethnic, religious or sexual affiliation. He is regarded as one of the most influential Greek intellectuals, unlike other Greek political figures from the right or left wing, always ready to publicly talk about outstanding issues.

What is the long term prospect for the Greece as a member of Euro-zone? Can the new Government succeed to satisfy partners in Euro-group and simultaneity to achieve the promises given during the election period?

Vallianatos: A long term prospect for Greece as a member of euro zone under the current government of radical left together with far right means serious changes in the political agenda presented to the Greek public opinion before elections.

The present agenda is a mixture of a socialist economy with a splash of Humanism together with racism and nationalism. Syriza is claiming tolerance and non-discrimination while the Independent Greeks”, represent nationalism and xenophobia.

It is now very clear for both the New government and the troika that there is a difference in the way economy is perceived. European countries under present political representation in European Parliament are not prepared to tolerate and negotiate socialist economic experimentation inside the euro zone including absence of privatization and the reduction of a large public sector with free market economy as a hostage of grey and underground alliances, the black market and different mafias.

Unless the Greek government changes policy, no prospect in the euro zone is possible.

How realistic is the option for Grexit? Is there a possibility for the country in worst case scenario to leave even EU.

Vallianatos: Promises given during the elections period belong to a Latin american failing state with a flavour of European humanism without access to the European approach to bureaucracy and doing business.

Apart from a self explanatory dealing with extreme poverty and suffering, well known to other European partners, new Greek government does not seem to comprehend how money is being produced in a modern euro zone country in financial and human terms.

Hopefully this model along with the present rhetoric changes into a nowadays pragmatic approach of the “Aquis Communautaire”.

Closed professions, bureaucracy, ancient and complicated tax system and uncertainty ought to be abandoned.

“Grexit”, is always possible as long as the new government does not explain what is the master plan to attract foreign private investments, the only source of future job creating labour policy in Europe.

Leaning EU in all is also possible in case the new administration lucks understanding for obligations stemming from contracts memorandums and agreements not observed.

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How serious are the analyses that in case of worsening relations with the EU SIRIZA might get closer to Moscow? Is it a strong sign the fact that the first meeting Tsipras as a prime-minister had with the Russian ambassador in Athens.

Vallianatos: Rumors about closer Greek-Russian financial interdependence fail to be voiced since every other attempt for such an eventuality falls short according to high ranking Russian officials, who indicate to the Greek government full compliance with European reforms and policies.

High level meetings between Russian and Greek officials are only for internal use.

US secretary of State Kerry recently said that Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Moldavia are on the line of fire between the US and Russia. What do you consider as danger  regarding the regional stability having in mind the challenges in Kosovo, Republic of  Srpska, Turkish – Greek dispute in the Aegean See, Macedonian name issue etc

Vallianatos: The political balances in the greater Balkan area are not changing as long as small countries in the area do not find their way to the European Institutions, and may very well swift in case this changes.

Neither the EU or the Russian Federation seem ready to take new initiatives in order to solve stagnant regional disputes in view of a different from the present policy.

Can we expect any movement regarding the name issue after Tsipras entered the coalition with the leader of Independent Greeks Kamenos who has pretty hard line on the Macedonia problem.

Vallianatos: SYRIZA used to be a very open and a non nationalistic party as long as it was small and weak in voicing external affairs issues. Syriza youth and indeed the well known Human rights Section is now not only silenced but also “disciplined”, in so far as “National Policies”, notably towards Turkey and the Macedonian name issue.

May I remind you all that the issue here is definitely not only the name, because as we all know by now, the new government has adopted the whole agenda of the other two leading Greek parties including the Macedonian identity culture and language. This means steps backwards.

What is the real “Red line” of SYRIZA regarding the name issue, is there a hidden position that might be implement during the next four years. A week after the inauguration Tsipras and Gruevski have had telephone conversation, can this be a good starting point for improvement of the relations between two nations?

Vallianatos: Nowadays it seems that the “red lines” of SYRIZA-the Independent Greeks, is exactly like the old ones, for one name for use “contra omnes”, including a geographical “North”, although the Independent Greeks agree with former Antonis Samaras view for a total ubsece of the world Macedonia in the name of what they call nowadays the “FYROM”.

The extreme financial struggle of the two partners in order for Greece to stay out of a bailout in Europe presents no chances for then to be able to move forward in the matter. Any prospect of change on that presupposes financial and political stability in the country which is not under portas now!

What is the common interests for two countries that might be used for resolution of the name issue. Can Turkish Stream be enough incentive for at least good relations in non political contacts. There are very few official contact between the officials of the two governments.

Vallianatos: Growing tourist, business and students affairs may influence tendencies and rooted opinions in the matter. Anything else will come from other international pressure.

Turkish stream is definitely a source of mutual respect and the detente as long as it works out well finally.

Why the Greek officials do not want to meet Macedonian counterparts. Ex president Papulias refused three letters from president Ivanov. Prime Minister Samaras also rejected such meetings. Can we expect that new Greek state leaders will be willing to sit and talk openly about the problems

Vallianatos: I will not exclude a change of attitude in so far as the presence of Greek dignitaries and politicians in the Republic of Macedonia. SYRIZA itself is much more open to international cooperation than PASOK socialists and Nea Dimokratia nationalists any way.