DEF back to Delphi: a case of applied resiliency

by Antonis D. Papagiannidis

The Delphi Economic Forum/DEF, the non-profit outfit that ever since 2016 strives to engage business, political, academic and other such talent in discussing current  global European and regional challenges from a (mainly) Greek point of view, missed last year’s event and had to convene the 2021/6th edition in Athens at the Zappeion (in hybrid format). Braving a heat wave, DEF organized – last Thursday and Friday – a “Tribute Event” in its original place of choice, Delphi.

This event constituted an act of continuing presence but also of gratitude to the sponsors of DEF events, who stood by notwithstanding the negative impact of the pandemic with its lock-down, social distancing routines (that gutted much of the DEF appeal) and the suchlike.

The Delphi event, although in quite shortened format, allowed for all of Greek officialdom to present the way ahead for the Greek economy: macroeconomic perspectives, investment expectations (the catch-phrase “Recovery and Resilience” was present in every turn), administrative reform and facing migration issues – all important items for the way ahead. In an uncanny way, the fact that the audience was in the dozens and not in the hundreds (the 2019 Delphi event got together 3.200 participants…) helped for the message – such as it was – to better resonate. “Food for thought” for the DEF organizers in their future events, Covid allowing of course.

Two wider areas of reflection merit to be singled out: the ESG approach as a business model (i.e. integrating environmental, social and governance dimensions to both private- and public-sector activities in quest for sustainability) and the search for effective content at the “Future of Europe” debate as it is unfolding (i.e. the effort to disprove, this time around, the prevailing European inclination to adhere to Hamlet’s Act 2, Scene 2: “Words, words, words”). Last but by no means least, security issues were addressed in collaboration with the Munich Security Conference (DEF has established an on-going relationship with MSC), giving political warhorce Evangelos Venizelos the chance to attempt a forward looking deep probe to regional and international issues of interest to Greece; surely it was not a chance that in the Programme he was followed by one more veteran Greek politics, Dimitri Avramopoulos. Will the DEF people prove they have a keen nose for things to come?