Greece-EU: solidarity ” “is not a one-way street” “

Europe must extend its hands to the Greek people. But a responsible commitment is needed to implement decisive reforms " "

Greece is suffering. Or, more precisely, a large part of the Greek population is suffering for the consequences of rigorous austerity and reform policies undertaken by the Samaras government which in the meantime fell in agreement with the donors of the highly indebted Country – notably European partners – in the hope to persuade them of its credit worthiness. The new government headed by Alexis Tsipras, elected at the end of January after a campaign in which the future winners (the Syriza party) promised miracles to voters, is now engaged to obtaining support and help in the reduction of its debt and in the quest for further liquidity, whilst being exempted from the obligation to undertake the reforms requested by credit institutions. There was and there is still is the willingness to help. However, since the beginning Greece’s new leaders have shown scarce competence on the position of their partners, who stress the fact that the new government, even after electoral success, must fulfil the commitments taken by its predecessors. Instead, Tsipras and his ministers have arrogantly turned against their partners also with offensive provocations (the latest clash was with Berlin regarding the payment of war compensation, blaming Germany for a situation caused by Greek politics.) This lack of understanding of their own responsibility raises doubts on whether Tsipras’ government is willing to carry out the task it has been entrusted with the elections. The restructuring programme that requires Greece to undertake significant sacrifices and limitations is not the result of arbitrariness, but the consequence of mistakes of which the Greeks are responsible. It is not the fault of creditors or of the European Union if Greece and many Greek people are going through difficulties. Rather, it is the result of a self-induced system of patronage, corruption, tax evasion, indebtedness and fraud, also to the detriment of those European partners to which today they demand solidarity, understanding and help. The majority of Greeks have benefited from that system in the past, including many of those who are now suffering the consequences of a situation whose responsibility is ascribed to Europe. Moreover, regardless of the inappropriate and counterproductive behaviour of the new Greek government, the question is whether Greece’s neighbours, considering the objective difficulties of the weakest brackets of the Greek population, are bound to provide a generous intervention to help the population by virtue of the love for one’s neighbours. Love is a fundamental Christian commandment, addressed to each person, as an individual and as a social being. Love is based on a personal feeling. It’s a virtue that is hard to practice in its political dimension and in international relations, whose actors are States and collective entities. In this case it is a question of solidarity, the translation of the concept of love in political terms. It also refers to the common good, to which is addressed a politics conceived starting with the spirit of solidarity. And while love is purely altruistic, solidarity is not a one-way road. Those who demand or receive solidarity must also act responsibly in solidarity to those who give, that is to say that their motivations, rights and demands, should equally be respected. The problem of international solidarity lies in the fact that this politics should be formulated and implemented in controversial areas in which are exchanged different, – often diverging – ideas on the meaning of solidarity. Moreover, there are also two different understandings of the common good and of its objectives in the framework of the various communities: those of the donors and those of the recipients. This dilemma in a situation of advanced – albeit not yet achieved – integration of the European Union or of a European Federation would be elevated at the level of transnational common good. Greece, which has already enjoyed European solidarity to a large extent, namely, with the cancellation of a 170 billion-worth debt and with generous, equally significant, loans, is also called to “earn” the solidarity of its neighbours and partners through the determination to carry out the necessary reforms especially in the interest of Greek citizens and in full respect of the rules agreed with its partners. Finally, also politics that acts in solidarity must do so according to rights and justice. Is it appropriate and fair to pretend solidarity from taxpayers in donor countries so that Greece may incur in further indebtedness and the government may fulfil its exorbitant electoral promises? Apart from this, no form of solidarity will help the Greek population unless they put their Country, their administration, their fiscal system, their finances and their economy in order in a long-lasting manner.

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