Costas Simitis, Greek ex-Prime Minister gave a speech on EU policy issues in front of ARGO’s large audience

On 24 March 2015, ARGO held another successful Dine & Discuss event during which an overwhelming number of participants had the pleasure to meet Mr. Costas Simitis, Greek ex-Prime Minister and listen to his speech entitled “European Union’s prospects today. A new European policy is needed”.

Selected parts of his speech are here below cited (ARGO’s liberal translation in English):

• The Eurozone’s difficulties to efficiently deal with the Greek crisis – the latter being a Member State with limited financial importance for the European Union as a whole – is another illustrative example that a new European policy is needed.

• The European unification is more and more needed since the globalisation has increased the markets’ capacity to determine the agenda. The equilibrium between the markets’ power and the political institutions’ power is imbalanced. The markets have gained power. It is, therefore, imperative that the current global system needs appropriate mechanisms able to monitor the international markets, rules against the international speculation as well as political institutions powerful enough to control the markets so that people’s interests are safeguarded. The political union is needed.

• To date, Europe has been in a position to deal with crises. Yet, it does not have sufficient capacity to efficiently fight their causes. Many have predicted and keep predicting a “Grexit” event. However, the possibility for any Eurozone’s Member State to exit the Euro does not, most likely, seem feasible. Not only because the Member State concerned would expose itself to the risk of a financial ruin but also due to the fact that, albeit the limited financial cost of such an event, Eurozone will be charged with a failure, entirely incompatible with its very status.

• Greece wishes to be a strong Member State within EU. This implies overcome of incapacities, continuous developments in the State’s modus operandi, structural changes in the economy and in the society itself towards the mitigation of mentalities such as clientelism and patronage and widening of social justice and social cohesion. By doing so, we will be present in ground-setting decision making processes that signalize Europe’s further development.

After completing his speech, Mr. Simitis received various questions by the participants to which he willingly responded while simultaneously commenting – occasionally, in a sharp wording – on the current political situation at the level of Greece and Europe.

At the end of the event and in accordance with our Network’s ritual to offer a symbolic gift to the guest, ARGO offered Mr. Simitis an innovative painting portraying the different drawings used on the Greek Euro coins. The painting was made by Mr. George Stamatopoulos, the Bank of Greece’s designated sculptor – responsible for the design of the Greek Euro coins – exclusively to be offered to our guest.

The Greek version of the full text of Mr. Simitis’ speech may be found here: