The president of DIKTYΟ for Reform in Greece and Europe and candidate of Greece for the position of Secretary General of the OECD, Anna Diamantopoulou, gave an interview today, Sunday, October 18, to the newspaper TO VIMA and the journalist Dimitra Kroustalli.
1. Your acceptance of the proposal of Kyriakos Mitsotakis for the OECD, caused friction between KINAL and SYRIZA and reactions from a part of ND for the continuous openings of the Prime Minister in the area of the Center-Left. How do you comment on them?
AP: I believe that the election of the Prime Minister concerns the foreign and not the domestic policy of the country. What I found out in the discussions with him is that the government had made a serious preparation and wanted a proposal with an extroverted orientation. Greece today has many reasons, diplomatic and economic, conjunctural and more permanent, for a great leap in extroversion. It opens aggressively to the outside world, because it has a lot to give and to be recognized, now, through the offer. It seeks to overcome the miserable and passive role of constantly asking, but it wants, has and can give to the world, spiritual values, principles of coexistence, but also valuable economic and social experiences. Greece, despite our grievances, has proved that only when democratic institutions endure there is a recovery.
Also, the Greek proposal seeks to harmonize with the identity and goals of the OECD. The existing, as a bridge of universality, cooperation for the co-development of nations and peoples, but also the renewed one, as an institution of open horizons and the fight against all kinds of exclusions and inequalities. The seriousness of such an international participation of the country presupposes, of course, a possible meritocratic choice. Finally, because apart from the choice of foreign policy, it is also a proposal of claim and battle, not at all certain, not at all given, it is an opportunity to join a national effort in difficult times for our country.
37 countries, 8 top candidates from all continents is a difficult but worthwhile battle.
Years ago you were a Commissioner in the Commission. What do you think has changed in Europe since then?
AP: Many and important. It has developed into an important internal market for the development of its peoples, the common currency has stabilized and recently with the Recovery Fund, strong foundations have been laid for the reconstruction and convergence of a single economic course. Over time, despite the delays and imperfections of the EU venture, the dilemma of Europe or chaos becomes clearer and the choice obvious.
But the most important things follow. Simultaneously with the united economic and social Europe, an autonomous and geopolitically united Europe is evolving. Geopolitical upheavals and upheavals are pushing things fast. This development is the great hope of balance, stability and peace in the face of intense multipolar competition between the United States, China and the other great powers. At the same time, however, it is a strong shield of protection for those European countries facing problems from regional revisions, as is the case in our country.
3. How do you think the world economy will move, given the changes brought by Covid-19? Will inequalities widen? Will new ones be created? What should the EU do, which is accepting the impact of the US-China conflict?
A: It is a fact that the pandemic accelerated and exacerbated the problems of the world economy, but it continued to suffer from the great crisis of 2008. The structural and fiscal problems it left behind were not addressed radically and returned dramatically, adding to it. pandemic. Of course, governments and central banks, with the experience of 2008, acted decisively in the field of liquidity supply, in order to keep the productive structures of companies and employees upright.
However, the accumulated economic deterioration and the complexity of the crisis, focus on the need for new economic approaches, less financial and more productive, for the new post-Covid-19 reality.
In terms of inequalities, because they are located at different scales, not only within societies, but also between nations and continents, indeed in the Western world they have expanded, in the sense that most of the wealth is now transferred to the East. That is why a serious and upgraded reconstruction of the EU’s relations with the US is paramount, regardless of the outcome of the November elections. This does not mean that the EU will abandon the constructive approach with other powers such as China and Russia, despite major differences.
4. Immigration will remain a big problem for Europe and for Greece. What do you think needs to be done?
AP: Immigration, a constant element of historical development, at times poses major problems. Especially for Europe, it is a source of insecurity, it “blackmails and diverts” European peoples to traumatic political and social choices, and it revives cycles of internal national conflict. Especially for Greece, immigration has a double burden. Because in addition to the social problem itself and its serious management requirements, it also exists as a tool problem of use that raises issues of national protection and security of the country.
That is why there is an urgent need for a European common immigration policy, which will set the EU’s overall direction in geopolitical, social integration policies, but also at the institutional, management level. In a spirit of cooperation, within the framework of European social values and with the sharing of responsibilities and costs by all Member States.
The new Immigration and Asylum Pact submitted by the European Commission is a big step in this direction and with the right additions can be a supply point for effective solutions.
The OECD is a body that promotes reforms more leniently than the IMF. But the Greeks are suspicious of the various reform programs. How can this suspicion be removed so that the necessary changes can proceed in social peace?
AP: What you say about mildness is true. Less well known, but equally true, is that the OECD is not an institutionally determined, but an advisory body. After all, the basic truth of successful reforms is that they are not imposed, but implemented voluntarily. Reforms always raise two questions: Whether they are necessary and whether they are privately owned.
Greece, based on the bitter experiences of the last decade, has taken steps in the reform culture. Today, the removal of suspicion is a matter of more political confidence and less rejection of the reforms themselves. For some, in fact, critical, frustrated or constantly postponed, such as insurance, today we are particularly troubled and apologetic.
Anna Diamantopoulou is the President of the Network for Reform in Greece and Europe – b. EU Commissioner – ex. Minister.