Are Greek politicians going off the rails? On Monday, we examined the strain Syriza finds itself in as it’s torn between two contradictory, strongly held Greek desires: to end the austerity regime and stay in the eurozone. But while Varoufakis was talking referenda, another Greek pol was making much stranger threats. Open Europe reports:
Speaking at a meeting of Independent Greek MPs yesterday, party leader and Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos argued that “If they [Germany] hit out at Greece then they should know that the migrants will get [travel] papers and go to Berlin.” He also reportedly added that if there were any members of the self-proclaimed Islamic State among these migrants, then Europe would only have itself to blame due to its behavior towards Greece.
Although Kammenos is the leader of Syriza’s coalition partner, he’s a relatively inexperienced politician; it seemed at the time that he was just shooting his mouth off, however irresponsibly.Today, though, the Greeks took a similarly inflammatory but more calculated step. Open Europe, again:
Greek Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos has this morning said that he is “ready to approve” a Greek Supreme Court ruling dating back to 2000, which established that German property in Greece could be seized as compensation for wartime atrocities. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras also told parliament yesterday, “After the reunification of Germany in 1990, the legal and political conditions were created for this issue to be solved. But since then, German governments chose silence, legal tricks and delay.” He confirmed that a special parliamentary committee will be re-established to look into the issue.
Countries afflicted with failed populist syndrome often seek external enemies. The temptation is understandable, but for Greece to do so now—and to choose Germany, its most powerful creditor—would be particularly foolish.Hopefully, this will remain but bluster. The first rule when standing in a puddle of gasoline is: don’t start lighting matches.