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Samaras is drawing a "National Red Line"

“Εθνική κόκκινη γραμμή” χαράσσει ο Σαμαράς

The president of the New Democracy party, Antonis Samaras, wants to draw a national red line on foreign policy issues during a pre-agenda debate in parliament, which he requested, to take place next Monday.

The president of the New Democracy party, Antonis Samaras, wants to draw a national red line on foreign policy issues during a pre-agenda debate in parliament, which he requested, to take place next Monday.

As explained by his colleagues, this move by Mr. Samaras has multiple aims.
 
Firstly, it is intended to provide a clear and specific content for the term "new patriotism", which has emerged since  the first day he donned the party leadership mantle, and is one of the two pillars of ND's political identity, the other being social liberalism.
 
At the same time, he wants to differentiate the party's position on national issues, both on what concerns the ruling party and the two small center-right parties in proximity that threaten his own party, mainly George Karatzaferis' LAOS.
 
Mostly, however, what Mr. Samaras wants, as admitted by his staff officers, is "to deconstruct the government's foreign policy" and to erect barriers, or even prevent progress.
 
Associates of Mr. Samaras say that " the side of the government appears to be of the intent to exploit the fiscal crisis in order for the pooling of the energy wealth of the Aegean to be accepted by public opinion. The position of Mr. Samaras, which he will repeat during the agenda debate, is a given : "There is nothing to share with anyone when it comes to our national wealth."
 
The chairman of New Democracy believes that the government is engaged in secret diplomacy. His own position is that our country should avoid negotiating with Turkey while in a weak position because of the economic crisis.
 
An advisor close to Mr. Samaras stated that "there was no reason for Papandreou to go to Erzurum and talk to Turkish ambassadors who, wherever they are placed, serve as hostile nation to our country, diplomatically and militarily; not only when it comes down to common everyday issues but also in relation to all other concerns; top of the list is the Skopje debate, on which they urge governments to recognize the name "Macedonia". The headquarters staff of Mr.Samaras suggest that the meeting between Papandreou and Erdogan, which lasted half an hour and no minutes where kept, constitutes secret diplomacy.
 
Mr.Samaras will ask that Greece declares its right to have its designated Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), a notion against which Turkey reacts strongly, although it has declared its own EEZ in the Black Sea; this is a further argument for our country. It is significant that Mr.Samaras asked to study the minutes of the debate on this issue in Parliament last Friday, between Mr. Papandreou and Secretary General of the KKE, Aleka Papariga
 
The staff of ND say that in the debate on Monday, Mr. Samaras will address the entire spectrum of national issues including the Skopje and Cyprus ones. On the matter of Skopje, the position of ND is that our country is in an advantageous position after the veto in Bucharest, that it has no reason to hurry and accelerate developments, and that the leadership of the neighboring state is the one that has a problem.
 
On the matter of Cyprus, there is a long-standing position that any solution must conform to the norms of international law and the "acquis communautaire", and that Turkey should fulfill its commitments towards the EU if it wants to continue on its European path . Moreover, Mr. Samaras is opposed to any version of the Annan plan which was rejected by referendum by the people of Cyprus.
 
Mr. Samaras' move breaks Kostas Karamanlis' regular, decade-long habit of insisting that matters of foreign policy remain outside public debate, arguing that "they must not be a subject of political controversy."
 
So far Mr. Samaras had focused on economic issues; by demonstrating his chief opposition to foreign policy issues, which are deemed an advantageous field for Mr. Papandreou, Mr Samaras emphasises his authority as a leader. The rise in tension on what concerns national matters is not irrelevant to the assessment of the leadership of ND that for Mr. Papandreou a recourse to early elections, possibly in the spring, is a possibility.
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