Strug­gling to adapt

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY COSTAS IORDANIDIS

In the first decades of the post-war Euro­pean ex­per­i­ment, the then Euro­pean Eco­nomic Com­mu­nity (EEC) made great ef­forts to­ward the stan­dard­iza­tion of agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion and the set­ting of quo­tas. It set us on a path to uni­for­mity and di­ver­sity, which was aptly crit­i­cized by the Count of Paris, Henri d’Or­leans, in an ar­ti­cle pub­lished in Le Fi­garo back when the euro first came into cir­cu­la­tion. Since then, the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion has zeal­ously pro­moted “ho­mo­gene­ity” of the na­tions of Europe de­spite cen­turies of tra­di­tion and the con­sti­tu­tion of its cit­i­zens on the ba- sis of which the na­tion-state was formed. The main aim of this ef­fort is to cre­ate the “Europ­er­son” freed from “na­tional char­ac­ter­is­tics.” It is im­por­tant to point out that no po­lit­i­cal leader in this coun­try, re­gard­less of their party, would have brought forth for de­bate the is­sue of “gen­der iden­tity” in par­lia­ment had it not been for the con­dem­na­tion Greece re­ceived at the Euro­pean Court of Hu­man Rights and the obli­ga­tion to adapt Greek law to Euro­pean law. SYRIZA seized the op­por­tu­nity to pro­mote it­self as a cham­pion of hu­man rights, also hop­ing to lure left-wing vot­ers. The In­de­pen­dent Greeks party was re­duced to a state of ex­treme em­bar­rass­ment. New Democ­racy tried to bal­ance its ded­i­ca­tion to Euro­pean ideals with its tra­di­tional voter base, which is nat­u­rally op­posed to such a law. Hence the ridicu­lous ex­changes dur­ing the two-day de­bate in Par­lia­ment. The Church of Greece, which strongly con­demned the gen­der iden­tity law, found it­self in the fir­ing line. This was ex­pected, how­ever, be­cause, with the pre­vail­ing de­cay, the Church has ended up as a point of ref­er­ence for cit­i­zens es­pous­ing more tra­di­tional val­ues, re­gard­less of politi- cal af­fil­i­a­tions. This, nat­u­rally, in­flu­enced the be­hav­ior of law­mak­ers. This has led to a sit­u­a­tion whereby the Church is rel­e­gated to a sec­ondary role by suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments seek­ing to ac­com­plish their aims, and the op­po­si­tion which uses it as a con­duit to fur­ther its bid for power. Both, govern­ment and op­po­si­tion, want an a la carte re­la­tion­ship with the Church. The prob­lem is that the mis­sion of the church dif­fers from that of po­lit­i­cal par­ties which, in or­der to con­vince so­ci­ety of their “Euro­pean pol­icy,” must aban­don tac­ti­cal ma­neu­ver­ing and deal with the sub­stance.

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