A political heavyweight joined forces with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and its Greek partner organisation “Forum for Greece”, who together with the kind support of “Neolaia Evropaiki Ekfrasi” hosted a conference on “North-South Relations in the EU – Clashes of National Stereotypes in a Period of Economic Crisis” in Athens. It was Kostis Hatzidakis, Greek Minister for Infrastructure and Development, who spoke on the political impacts of the sovereign debt crisis and its implications for the relationship between European people.
“The eurozone was established end the `civil wars´ between national currencies”, the minister said, “but also to guarantee a dynamic Europe where the European peoples move closer together.” Together with him, the German Ambassador
Wolfgang Dold formed the political panel moderated by Andreas Andrianopoulos, President of “Forum for Greece”. The German ambassador stated that Europe had become part of everyone’s everyday life and that the majority of Europeans would not be willing to give this up. “There is no longing for ‘less Europe’”, he said. He reassured the international audience of Germany’s commitment to Europe by quoting Germany’s Federal President Joachim Gauck: “It is my heartfelt conviction that in Germany more Europe does not mean a German Europe. For us, more Europe means a European Germany!”
In the cultural panel, Jorgo Chatzimarkakis MEP explained the negative influences blind prejudices could exert on policy making. Together with Aristos Doxiades, who gave a brilliant lecture on the emergence of stereotypes, both panelists raised awareness of the negative power of narrow-mindedness, especially in the European context. The conference closed with an analysis of the economic impacts of the crisis, with Prof. Karl-Heinz Paqué, former Minister of Finance in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, and Theodore Pelagidis, author of the bestseller “Understanding the Crisis in Greece: From Boom to Bust”, vividly elaborated on the influences of economic expectations and biases on the real economy.