Emmanuel Macron will make Greece the launchpad for a major policy speech on the future of Europe as he starts his first official trip to the country on Thursday.
From the dramatic setting of the ancient Pnyx in Athens, the French president is expected to outline his vision for the continent in what is being called his most important overseas address since taking office in May.
Amid the rocky hills of the Pnyx beneath the Acropolis, the speech will focus on the virtues of democracy as the European Union – and Greece – finally show signs of economic revival.
“It will be a message of confidence in Greece but also a European symbolic message, given that in many ways Greece has been a symbol of Europe’s crisis,” said an Élysée Palace source. “The restart of Greece is the restart of the eurozone.”
The very existence of the eurozone was and is the Greek problem.
That the place went bust, eh, tant pis, it’s been that for 50% of its time as an independent nation. That a decade later GDP is still down by 25% is the fault of the euro. Just as St. Milton pinned the 1930’s debacle in the US on the Federal Reserve. The crash might well have been fiscal, the continued depression is bad monetary policy.
So, what are you going to do about it?
Analysts say Greece is vital to Paris’s long-term goal of forming alliances in Europe’s southern periphery that would ultimately enhance its leadership role in the Mediterranean and recalibrate the Franco-German axis. “France will at some point talk to Germany about the division of labour inside Europe,” said Dr Thanos Dokos, who directs the Greek thinktank Eliamep. “It is the only EU country with the capacity to project military power outside Europe, which gives it a comparative advantage in Europe’s southern neighbourhood.”
Ah, grand Napoleonic designs and sod the economics then is it?