Some weeks ago, the main Opposition party in Greece – conservative Nea Dimocratia – made a little-noticed decision: ND’s leader, moderate-leaning Kyriakos Mitsotakis was one of the very first in Europe to support Manfred Weber (of the CSU, presently heading the Christian Democrats in the European Parliament) to carry the banner of the EPP in the coming European elections and to have a go at the Presidency of the European Commission.
Weber prevailed in the intra-EPP polls; still, the point not to be missed is that he is of resolutely right-wing leanings, both in a European and in a German context. Personalities may matter, since Mitsotakis seems to be a long-term friend of Weber. But throwing his weight behind the right turn of EPP in the European elections campaign is a far more serious matter: extremely conservative-to-radical-riight-wing, anti-European parties seem to flourish all around the EU, so it is an important bet for the traditional middle-of-the-road EPP to shift to that direction in the hope of undercutting them.
Now, fresh from attending a reflection conference of beleaguered German Social Democrats/SPD in Berlin – where he preached a left turn to a party sitting in a coalition with conservatives… - ex-radical left-wing Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will be supporting the joint appeal of the Left Union, the European Socialists and the Greens for some sort of joint action at a European level. Udo Bulman of the Socialists/PES, Gabi Dimmer of the Left Union and Ska Keller of the Greens will try and open a new path, in view of tough choises for their national components.
True enough, the Greens are in the rise in Germany; but Socialist and Social Democratic parties are getting clobbered all over Europe. The fact that in these efforts, the Greek party called to join is (ex-radical) SYRIZA and not traditional Socialist PASOK weights heavily in internal politics in Greece.