Greece as the dog that did not bark

Posted by Antonis D. Papagiannidis 27/03/2017 0 Comment(s) Economia Blog,

Greece tried a not-so original move in the run-up to the Rome Summit for the 60th anniversary of the EU, along with the (expected for the third or fourth time within so many months) conclusion of the negotiations over the second review of its current Adjustment Programme. The Athens Government made it known that it hesitated to accept the text of the Rome Resolution over the Future of Europe, if the text did not include wording to the effect that the "social acquis" of the EU would be applicable to all member States; the idea was straightforward enough - to use such a statement in order to push away the attempt on the part of the IMF, to roll labour relations in Greece back (compared to EU standards).


But the Rome festivities had gained enough dynamic so as to prove unstoppable. True enough, the Rome Declaration as published on March 25, promising in quite loose language that "Europe is our common future", has little substance. Even so, the segment of the Declaration on Social Europe did not include the kind of language demanded - rather: asked for - by Athens, while integrating catch phrases such as social progress, cohesion and convergence, fight for unemployment, social exclusion and poverty. No reference to collective negotiations (the linchpin of the Greek position) is made further to the "key role of social partners", where reference is just of "taking into account the diversity of national systems".


The Athens Government was kindly nudged to a time-honoured EU practice: Greek P.M. Tsipras was advised to address a formal letter to the Presidents of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and of the European Council Donald Tusk, describing in extensor the Greek positions. Juncker assured Tsipras that the Commission stood by the notion of collective negotiations, but reminded him that diversity is also part of the EU social acquis.


Then the far-less-than-inspiring Declaration of Rome was duly signed by the "27" of today's Europe, with Greece following the pack; and one ore case off "the dog that did not bark" was recorded.

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