What sighs of relief were heard when the Prime Minister announced his decision to call a national election, after his party’s humiliating defeat in last month’s European Elections, were premature. Fully understandable, but premature. The country, it is true, has been spared the trial of a protracted electoral campaign, fantastically and disastrously expensive in terms of fiscal handouts to various groups of past and potentially future government sympathizers. In the last days before the European Elections the full measure was given of the indecency, the vulgarity, and the lack of any discernible traces of, either, moral inhibitions or decorum on the part of a government attempting without pretense to bribe and corrupt voters. One can easily imagine what more could be there, in store, until an election in October.
But Greece is still hanging in the balance. The odds for the country are still daunting. What would be at stake, should the main opposition party failed to form a government, are those —rather few and rudimental— structural reforms, which the EU and the IMF had, somehow, managed to impose on the present government, while the latter were still gaping in shock and panic at the catastrophic consequences of their suicidal recklessness and shameless attempts at extorting the EU ―“we’ll flood Europe with Islamists if we collapse”― during their first, almost fatal, six months in power, early in 2015. The government has, at any rate, already started dismantling reforms since last summer, almost immediately after the supposed “end of the era of the memoranda”. And they did so under the inexplicably tolerant eyes of Brussels, while Mr. Moscovici’s tender, almost caressing ―and rare― scolding’s were sounding more like encouragements, at a moment when harsh and loud warnings to desist were, much rather, required.
Even now, obvious as it has become that Greece is, once again, attempting to deceive observers and evade the implementation of critical and already legislated measures, the tone and the wording of the European Commission remain astonishingly mild. That the Prime Minister chose to describe such polite examples of European prose as the language of “some of the most extremistic circles” in the EU, must be seen as the measure of what revitalized, anti-EU rhetoric can be expected of him in the future ―neither the first nor the last Ovidian metamorphosis of his.
Furthermore, if the opposition fails to form a government under its own colour, sustained by its own parliamentary group immediately after next month’s election ―and then proceed at once to the amendment of the new electoral law which has introduced an unmitigated proportional system―, a long period of utter ungovernability will ensue. New reforms will become politically impossible, and those still in place will receive devastating, finishing, blows.
Given the unconventional nature of this bizarre, regime minded, government ―euphemism upon euphemism and understatement upon understatement―, in power in Greece since 2015, the task of any future liberal/centrist government will be Herculean and will require unflinching determination; and all the more so, perhaps, in view of the sinister profile of several formations on the extra-parliamentarian left, the ruling party never seized to interact with, directly or indirectly, and in many ways protect, or even do remotely control, as various analysts have often reported —failing though until now to produce iron clad evidence.
It must, nevertheless, not be forgotten that Greece is the only country in Europe where extreme leftist terrorism, of a remarkably maligne, aggressive and enterprising variety, is rapidly rising from its ashes; that Athens is a capital where buildings and entire neighbourhoods are recognized as the inviolable sanctuaries, haunts and dens of all sorts of politically violent elements whom the Police and even the Fire Brigade are usually instructed to leave «unprovoked»; a country where the law ―as amended by the present government― makes sufficient allowance for terrorists, with a dozen of victims on their cahier de chasse, to take frequent leaves from prison and tour the scenes of their glorious deeds, surrounded and applauded by “young activists” ―as the latter are referred to by government sources— who, in reality, are but the apprentices of the next generation of terrorists.
One must, therefore, continue to hope for the best, but expect and prepare for the worst.
More particularly, if —or as soon as— a normal government is, eventually, formed, it will probably have to cope with multiple and well-coordinated acts of political violence. The objective of the planners will be to scare off and humiliate the new government, pre-empt the adoption of tougher law and order measures and delay for as long as possible the urgently needed reorganization of the entire Police apparatus. Certain specialized observers believe and report that such “shock and awe” plans to prevent and “defeat in the streets” a “new-liberal restauration” are already being prepared.
Our EU partners can and must help Greece ―and themselves―, by raising, at long last, their voice as high as the malefic nature and the gravity of the issue demand.
It can no longer be ignored, tolerated and passed under virtual silence, not even as a mere possibility, that new and unknown, varieties of terrorists are being bred in Greece.
Isn’t anyone worried that specialized Western researchers are detecting a panspermia of violent elements from all over Europe flocking to Greece to gain experience in “extreme activism” and “urban control”?
Isn’t anyone aware that the movement of the body when hurling, either, a grenade or a can of paint at an embassy is exactly the same and that it cannot be known what was the nature of the missile, before it ends its tragectory ― in other words, until it is too late?
It is a miracle that no Islamist terrorist has ―until now―, thought to exploit the fearful inertia of Athenian policemen whenever they are confronted by hooded thugs attacking Embassies, shops or public buildings ―the fear of the hapless law enforcers, it must be stressed here, being inspired, as the representatives of their own Union have so often explained, by their political superiors and the severe sanctions threatened to be inflicted, if any “young activists” are harmed.
It is high time that policemen guarding embassies started responding to anyone about to launch anything at the building they protect as instantly and as drastically as policemen in Paris, Brussels or London do in similar circumstances. European diplomatic missions must demand it. A joint demarche in this sense would be perfectly in order. But now, to this government; before the elections. A liberal-centrist government will, of course, know, what must be done and will doubtlessly attempt to do it. But their hand should be strengthened as of now.
Certain European diplomatic missions in Athens are well aware of and very alarmed by all this. That much we happen to know, as the main sources of this paper, in this instance, are diplomatic.
Therefore, as we said, all the hope and the relief of the day after the European elections can still prove premature. The country is still on the brink of the abyss.
The horizon has further been darkened by the swift and unprovoked decapitation of Mr. Evangelos Venizelos’ by his party’s leader Ms. Ghenimmata. It was a development of critical significance as it is clearly indicating that Ms. Ghenimmata and her new, rather more leftist entourage, do not intend to proceed to forming a coalition government with New Democracy, if the latter only managed to attain a relative majority in Parliament.
The EU, the European Commission and all those known, until now, under the collective nouns of “the Troika” or “the Institutions”, may no longer be institutionally endowed to suppress and punish misconduct, insubordination and deceit, as swiftly as they used to. But they still can, and must, help stopping the surge of profligacy which they have, so timidly, tolerated since last summer. The sacrifices of Greeks during all these years must be safeguarded.
Thus, the tone of EU warnings must urgently become harsh; inspired by Mr. Schäuble’s, not Mr. Moscovici’s, language and tone. As of now; to Mr. Tsipras. Not after the elections, to Mr. Mitsotakis. What is being tolerated from the one, should, automatically, be conceded to the other.
As we said, Greece is still hanging in the balance. The 7th of July will be a day of judgement.