Out of the Past, Karamanlis Says Greece’s Road Still Rocky

October 28, 2019

ATHENS – Mostly invisible since he was beaten a decade ago by the now-defunct PASOK Socialists, former Premier and then-New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis emerged from the political shadows to say his party’s control of the government now faces a host of challenges.

Speaking to the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency (ANA-MPA) he said those include a reignited refugee and migrant crisis, Turkish provocations in the Aegean and East Mediterranean, the volatility of the US under President Donald Trump and the deal the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA made to give away the name of Macedonia to a newly-named North Macedonia.

Karamanlis, who was prime minister from 2004-09, was the keynote speaker Sunday at the 80th Anniversary event of the Macedonian Studies Society (EMS) in Thessaloniki, a rare appearance after staying mostly mum for 10 years despite withering criticism his government cooked the books and gave inaccurate information about the country’s economy, leading then-PASOK leader George Papandreou, who defeated him, to be elected on the promise, “The money is there.”

Papandreou inherited an economy so bad he had to ask for a bailout, which turned into three international rescue packages of 326 billion euros ($361.36 million) and Karamanlis came under fire for it.

He wouldn’t speak about his time in office, focusing instead on what new Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is facing. “We have entered a phase of growing uncertainty, exacerbated by the often unpredictable behavior of the United States that raises questions of consistency and credibility.”

That was partially at odds with Mitsotakis further reaching out to the US and signing a renewal of a joint military cooperation pact but with Trump’s unpredictable behavior a wild card catalyst with the Russian Ambassador warning the President could turn against Greece.

Noting that, Karamanlis pointed to what he said “is reflected on major issues: from the so-called Arab Spring and the (US’) contradictions on the Syrian issue to its inconsistent behavior towards Turkey,” with Trump both blasting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and yet turning around and calling him a frind.

“Antagonisms, regional conflicts, trade wars and frequent changes in the balance of power, behaviors and alignments make the international scene much more volatile than any other time since World War II. This reality is reflected with particular intensity in our wider neighborhood, that is, Southeastern Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East,” Karamanlis said.

“There is no doubt that we are facing a blatant escalation from Turkey, from Evros to Cyprus. A planned and systematic escalation,” Karamanlis said. “We now know where Ankara’s strategic moves are aimed at,” he added.

“Past experience has shown that Greece must not be provoked by Turkey’s machinations and should not allow faits accomplish against its sovereignty. We must be in a constant state of alert and readiness. Because, let’s have no doubt about it, defending our sovereign rights and national interests will depend on us. We must present a unified front and ensure the deterrent power of our armed forces. “

“With Turkey, our relations are being constantly tested by its arbitrary claims. Addressing them requires seriousness, long-term planning and initiatives on all fronts. Greece has chosen International Law as its main weapon against these claims. We must at the same time work continuously to highlight the problem as one between Turkey and Europe and not merely as a bilateral one,” Karamanlis said, adding that strong regional ties are crucial.

He said the European Union’s timidity in dealing with Erdogan, who said he would unleash on the bloc and Greek islands 3.6 million more refugees and migrants who came to his country fleeing war and strife in the Mideast and other countries has made it hard to deal with him.

“Today’s Europe appears introverted, cumbersome, unable to make critical decisions and undertake initiatives,” and cited as a glaring example its perceived inability to formulate a clear and effective policy on refugee and migration issues.

He said the deal that former premier and SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras made to give away the name of the Greek province of Macedonia had caused more problems than solutions, Greece lifting its bar on that country getting into NATO and opening European Union accession talks, which hit a roadblock when France objected, halting for now any hopes North Macedonia has of “We could have demanded and achieved much more. Recent developments have confirmed that others were eager to join NATO and the EU and they still had much to prove. After all, it seems that their issues are more than those with Greece,” he said. As for the position of Northern Macedonia, he stressed that countries aspiring – sooner or later – to become members of the European Union must fully adopt and implement European behavior, European principles and values. “One should not assume that by signing the Prespa Agreement, it automatically receives a ticket to the European Union,” he also added.


ATHENS - Greece's civil protection authority is on high alert ahead of the upcoming adverse weather front expected to hit the country as of Monday.

Top Stories


A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.


Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.