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FM Kotzias: “We have a deficit of leadership in the EU” many crises stem from this problem

“In the EU, we have a deficit in leadership,” Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said in an interview with the US magazine National Interest. His remarks about Germany, Turkey, Russia, the refugee crisis and the conflict in Syria are  “noteworthy for their clear stands,” the magazine notes. With the European Union at a crossroads about its future, Kotzias’s remarks about the need for a clear plan of action are particularly timely.

Jacob Heilbrunn: Does the West have a future?

Nikolaos Kotzias: The West can have a positive future only if we use our capacities in a smart way. Second, it must work hard enough to form new identities, and third, it has to find the best possible solution and implement it. If the West does not work on a new program or any alternative scenarios and does not have the ability to implement the scenario we choose, then there is no future. I think that there is a future for the West only under these three conditions.

JH: The refugee crisis has hit Greece very hard.

NK: Yes Greece was hit very hard. And the refugees were hit hard too.

After January of 2015, I had warned that we would have substantial problems with the refugees and economic migration because the UN and the EU were reducing the money earmarked for the camps in Southern Lebanon. And nobody was listening to me. The European press was carrying out a campaign against me. I was describing a problem and they closed their eyes, chose not to recognize it, and they blamed the messenger instead of focusing on the real problem.

JH: Do you think that Chancellor Merkel exacerbated the problem? Made it worse?

NK: I think Angela Merkel was at the time focusing more on the financial crisis in Europe and the Ukraine problem and failed to see the refugee problem.

JH: What is happening in Europe with the rise of these anti-immigrant movements? What is your assessment?

NK: The anti-European or the anti-Euro movements have existed before the anti-immigrant movements. For example, the AFD in Germany did not start with a campaign against refugees; but with a campaign against the European Union and the euro. In France, the anti-immigrant movement did not begin with the refugees; they do not have so many refugees.

In the EU, we have a deficit of leadership. There is not enough democratic discussion on what type of Europe we want for the twenty-first century. The EU has some useful tools, but not all of them are useful for the future. There are many young people going to school and hearing that the EU can sanction nations, then they hear it can impose an embargo on nations, then they hear that Greece is facing austerity. When you see the whole picture, the EU is not so attractive, if only reduced to these instruments. This is why we need to discuss the vision of the EU, to focus on our values and democracy. The populist movements are on the rise because this discussion never took place.

Nikos Kotzias said he believed that the multiple crises in Europe (Brexit, eurozone crisis, refugee problems) are “individual crises, but they all stem from a leadership crisis in the EU.

“If we tried to create a system based on rules and European values, things would be much better,” the Greek FM underlined.

He added that the European leadership needs to realize that “there are losers in the globalization process” and that the political forces need to focus more on the problems of the workers, on the concerns of the middle class.

N.K.: “The members of the middle class are scared they will lose their jobs and need reassurance and answers. The problem is that politicians are not answering the people’s questions. The longer we delay the answers to the people, the more they will turn to populists or far right groups. We also underestimated the future. We thought the U.S. would decline and that the twenty-first century would be a European century. America is not in decline. Southeast Asia is also rising. Europe is not as important as the Europeans thought it would be, and its leadership is not happy. There is also too much bureaucracy and not enough investment in people, in the Second Machine Age and in the future.”

Full interview in National Interest.

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  1. The guy is a moron. The problem with refugees in Lebanon has nothing to do with lack of money for refugee camps. Ideally, refugees should not be in camps anyway, other than as a short term measure. The problem is that Jordan and Lebanon, along with Turkey, are hosting millions and milions of Syrian refugees. In Jordan and Lebanon, the Syrians are ethnically and even family related, and alter the political and ethnic balance of the countries — very dangerous.
    And this proto-malakas has NOTHING AT ALL to say about the EU-Turkey Statement and its inevitable collapse. He is just a loudmouth full of his own self-importance, no grasp of foreign affairs, and no originality or intellectual courage. Just an arsehole.

    • I would suggest that you apply immediately, as I’m sure you know much more and are better qualified.

      • Where is my reply to this? When people post sarcastic comments, we all have the right of reply, surely?

    • Look no further: had this guy been genuine he would not have been part of the Quisling government. People like him deserve only contempt and nothing more. He can go and moan for leadership and other BS to his boss Frau Merkel, not to us.

    • ” In Jordan and Lebanon, the Syrians are ethnically and even family related, and alter the political and ethnic balance of the countries — very dangerous.”
      Yep, it is all about demographics and we now have your own words for it for prove it. Very dangerous indeed.
      Same thing happening to Europe: altering the political and ethnic balance of these countries with the import of a lot of people from MENA.
      At that import rate and with their birth rates and our declining birth rates (and lets not even mention Merkel secret little plan) at the end of this century large areas of Europe will be dominated by Islam, a patriarchal, authoritarian and totalitarian ideology.

      • No, that is not at all what I said. You seem to have a habit of playing with other people’s words to manipulate their meaning. If you knew any history, you would know that Lebanon used to be the most stable and developed country of the Middle East — until its civil war. That war was caused by the role of different ethnic and religious groups within the Lebanese political system — mostly related to neighbouring countries. There is a similar potential with all of the Middle East. There is no such potential in any EU country. To pretend that there is such a danger is a far right piece of propaganda and outright lie.

        • Outright lie? Just give it a couple of generations in Europe.
          You seem to have the habit of contradicting yourself with your own “arguments”. And then this condescending tone again “If you knew any history…”. What, do you think you are the only one that knows something about history? Much of the MENA was peaceful and prosperous when they kept the Islamists at bay. Look at Iran and Afghanistan. Then the mullahs and the imam came along because the leaders in these countries did nothing to share the wealth which created resentment and it was all downhill from there.
          But let’s look at what you said. You said “In Jordan and Lebanon, the Syrians are ethnically and even family related, and alter the political and ethnic balance of the countries — very dangerous.”
          So you single out a group of people (Syrians) that you identify by a common shared set of genes (ethical, family) and assign an attribute to them (dangerous). Sounds rather racist to me Xenos.
          All the while you accuse everybody here of racism, nazism, far right (you sound a bit like Erdogan) but it turns out you apply it as well.

          • You are talking absolute crap. And we all know the current fascist trend of accusing everybody else (on zero grounds) of racism. Pure manipulation and propaganda techniques, well known to the Nazis and now back in full flood from the far right.
            And you have the effing cheek to compare me with Erdogan. Go back to your padded cell, where you will do yourself less damage.

          • I know only of this trend by you to twist data to fit your own narrative, to insults and in-tolerate others that don’t agree with you, to never respond to arguments made by others with your own arguments but instead with more insults, etc. And now also your own version of discrimination. What you said about Syrian immigrants in Lebanon and Jordan perfectly fits the description of racism.

  2. “Germany does not want growth; they just want to suck Greece dry.” Kotzias (same interview)

    • You are right, pity KTG did not publish this, as it is the most relevant to us comment. However, how can this phrase be consistent with this guy’s actions, which only serve the German interests at the expense of his country’s interests (being part of the present Quislings government)?
      Unless we go for schizophrenia, I find no logical explanation, other that empty words he threw in, just to fool any idiot voter out there. In other words, follow the SYRIZANEL motto: “Speak like a patriot, act like a traitor!”