President of the Greek Parliament Nikos Voutsis, in his article for Avghi newspaper (31.12.17) posits that for 2018, it is imperative to develop progressive alliances, within Greece as well as internationally.

At an international relations level, Voutsis believes that efforts should be focused on diffusing the situation in the Middle East, putting an end to the “new cold war” between the United States and China and avoiding incidents on the Korean peninsula.  He hopes that “the formation of an overwhelming majority in the UN against President Trump’s unprecedented move to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will act as a powerful deterrent against UN’s continued debilitation.”

The current debate on the future of Europe is taking place during a negative conjuncture, stresses Voutsis, since after the 2017 European election cycle, the extreme right became a strong political force, while the EU’s persistence in austerity strategies is met with more doubts than ever. “The EU is experiencing a historically painful identity crisis, and the search for a new balance coexists with questions on its international role and its very existence.”

In Greece, according to Voutsis, from the dialogue on a realistic roadmap for a “clear exit” from the adjustment programmes two new elements emerged:  First, the recognition that we are moving towards the end of the memoranda period as a result of structural reforms in welfare, public administration, education and health. At the same time, the constructive discussion on “post-memoranda Greece” has lead to the formulation of a growth strategy that is based on a different productive model. The search for progressive solutions, Voutsis stresses, has to extend to the protection of the rights and freedoms of the citizens and everyone who lives in Greece.

Progressive solutions are also needed to solve important issues that have been pending for decades, like the issue of name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.  An agreement on a composite name with the neighboring country, he concludes, will bolster the new dynamics developing in the Balkans and add to the stability in our turbulent region.

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