Friday

30th Sep 2022

Samaras and Barroso show solidarity on 'anti-EU' parties

Greek PM Antonis Samaras and European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso have showed solidarity against what Samaras calls his "anti-EU" political enemies.

Speaking at a launch ceremony for the Greek EU presidency on Wednesday (8 January), Samaras dubbed the left-wing Syriza opposition party as "anti-EU, anti-Nato, and anti-Western."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • The Syriza party is 'anti-EU and anti-Western' Samaras said (Photo: John D. Carnessiotis, Athens, Greece)

He promised there will be no snap national elections in Greece before the next sheduled vote, in 2016, despite the waning popularity of his ruling coalition.

Barroso, at the same event, said he is "sure that the pro-European forces will win the European elections" in May this year.

He also dismissed as "prejudice" suggestions that Samaras' government is not up to handling the EU presidency because of the economic mess in Greece.

He was echoed by deputy PM Evangelos Venizelos, who told reporters that "we are, from an institutional point of view, up to par."

For his part, Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras boycotted the EU presidency ceremony in protest at the government's priorities for its six months at the EU helm.

Greece is hoping to exit its €240 billion bailout programme this year.

But Tsipras says the terms of the loan package are failing ordinary Greeks and wants to remodel the Greek economy around a public works programme.

Syriza is also nosing ahead of New Democracy in opinion polls.

It scored 22 percent in one recent survey by pollsters Pulse, compared to Samaras' centre-right New Democracy party on 20 percent and its junior coalition partner, the centre-left Pasok party, on 5 percent.

The voters' mood has led to speculation the coalition could unravel.

Meanwhile, another recent poll said that Barroso, and EU officials more broadly, have an approval rating of just 19 percent in Greece - the lowest in any EU country.

Samaras on Wednesday conceded that the patience of Greek people has been tested by the economic crisis.

"I understand that people are angry about their suffering from the extreme austerity they have had to go through," he said.

Turning to the European Parliament election in May, he added that Greek voters "will need to decide if they want Europe or not."

Greece is also among several EU countries which are likely to see a surge in support for far-right parties in May.

Samaras said the Greek neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party has "nothing to do with democracy."

The group has been linked to organised violence against migrants.

One of its members, a former commando, famously attacked an MP from a rival left-wing party on live TV in 2012, slapping her in the face three times.

But it is polling in third place, on 11 percent, raising the prospect of Golden Dawn MEPs in the corridors of the next EU parliament in Brussels.

Approval of EU leadership lowest in Greece

Approval of EU leadership was lowest in bailed-out Greece in 2013 while Spain saw a 32 percentage point drop in support between the 2008 and 2013, a fresh Gallup poll showed.

Feature

Why northeast Italy traded in League for Brothers of Italy

EUobserver spoke with several business figures and all confirmed they voted for Georgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy because it promised stability, less bureaucracy and tax cuts. Matteo Salvini's anti-EU rhetoric scared them, while they trust Meloni has "more common sense".

Europe's far-right celebrates Meloni victory

In Warsaw and Budapest, the prime ministers were quick to congratulate the new Italian leader, who — they hope — will back them in their battles with the EU over civil rights, rule of law and democratic backsliding.

EU seeks crisis powers to take control over supply chains

The Single Market Emergency Instrument (SMEI) introduces a staged, step-by-step, approach — providing emergency powers to the EU Commission to tackle any potential threat which could trigger disruptions or shortages of key products within the EU.

Column

EU should admonish less, and listen more, to the Global South

Whether on Russia, or gas, or climate change, or food security, the EU's constant finger-wagging and moralising is becoming unbearably repetitive and self-defeating. Most countries in the Global South view it as eurocentric and neo-colonial.

Podcast

How Europe helped normalise Georgia Meloni

Should Georgia Meloni be considered neofascist? She insists she's a patriotic conservative. And indeed, if she's prime minister, she's expected to respect Italy's democracy — if only to keep money flowing from the EU.

News in Brief

  1. EU ministers adopt measures to tackle soaring energy bills
  2. EU takes Malta to court over golden passports
  3. EU to ban Russian products worth €7bn a year more
  4. Denmark: CIA did not warn of Nord Stream attack
  5. Drone sightings in the North Sea 'occurred over months'
  6. Gazprom threatens to cut gas deliveries to Europe via Ukraine
  7. New compromise over EU energy emergency measures
  8. 15 states push for EU-wide gas price cap

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  3. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  4. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries

Latest News

  1. Going Down Under — EU needs to finish trade deal with Australia
  2. MEPs worry Russian disinfo weakens support for Ukraine
  3. Everything you need to know about the EU gas price cap plan
  4. Why northeast Italy traded in League for Brothers of Italy
  5. How US tech giants play EU states off against each other
  6. Deregulation of new GMO crops: science or business?
  7. The European shipping giants plying Putin's fossil-fuels trade
  8. Russian ideologue and caviar on latest EU blacklist

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us