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Papandreou: Putin is financing populists in Europe


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Analytic Interview with the former Prime Minister and President of the Socialist International, George Papandreoupublishes today the Italian newspaper La Repubblica. «Papandreou has many ideas on how to win the showdown with the populists and considers that the main European authoritarian politician, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, now has little time to prove that he is not a puppet in Putin’s hands“, The newspaper notes.

In detail, with reference to his attitude Orban, Mr. Papandreou states: “Let’s look at the facts. Orban distanced himself from the common European stance on Ukraine. He said his biggest enemy was Brussels, the international media and Zelensky. On the other hand, the Kremlin announced that relations with Hungary have improved after the recent elections. At the same time, Orban seems to be receiving favorable information from Putin. After a visit to the Vatican, the pope revealed that Orban had told him that Putin would end the war on May 9. The real test, then, will be the continuation or end of the war. And whether Europe succeeds in achieving an oil embargo».

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In relation to gas embargothe former Prime Minister of Greece emphasizes: “If we all decide together, I think it can be done. But Greece’s dependence on Russian gas is similar to that of Italy, at about 40%. We need to work hard on alternative supplies».

Asked about case of Hungary and for the general strengthening of authoritarian regimes responds that “there is a feeling against the current democratic system, which in many countries has pushed populist parties to insist on isolationism and nationalism and to divide society».

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«We must make an effort to rebuild society. It’s not easy. The weakening of traditional parties and the weakening of trade unions caused an additional restructuring of society. Many are seduced by “strong” leaders, who are in fact weak and voluntarily aggravate uncertainties. We progressives must bring about change, we must increase democratic participation and, above all, we must propose a more social and secure Europe“, points out.

Mr. Parandreou emphasizes that Europe needs a common defense but there must be European production of certain goods. «The answer to populism must be, above all, to fight inequalities, tax havens and climate change.“, supports.

«I lived through the financial crisis very closely, as you know. And the lesson is that the centers of power were not “too big to go bankrupt”, but “too big to be controlled”. We can not tolerate the accumulation of excessive wealth and power in a few handsHe explains.

The President of the Socialist International also states that all the progressive powers of Europe agree that “Putin has no right to teach lessons to anyone and to reject authoritarian regimes».

«We are not just talking about invasion“But for an attack on our values, on our open societies and on our democracies,” he said. I believe that our answer must be inspired by Aristotle. When there are inequalities, polarization is inevitable. The sense of injustice is fertile ground for demagogues and tyrants».

The former prime minister and former president of PASOK, when asked about Putin’s attempt to exert influence in the Western Balkans as wellreplies that he considers it wrong that the accession of Albania and Northern Macedonia to the EU is not progressing rapidly, adding that Ukraine should also become a member of the European Union.

«There are, however, Balkan countries whose accession process is at an advanced stage and we must give them priorityHe notes.

Asked about management of the Greek financial crisis, the enormous sacrifices of Greece and the attitude of GermanyMr. Papandreou answers: «Not only, as the OECD said, we have achieved the greatest fiscal correction, we have also made the greatest reform effort in history. THE Mario Draghi he understood and said “I will do whatever it takes to save the euro”. I told Merkel: “I do not want his money, but your support in the markets.” The problem was the European divisions, not Greece. And the problem was that Europe said that Greece was the problem. Definitely played a role and a “punitive psychologyGermany, which did not help calm markets.

«Russia seemed to want to help you, but no action was taken. Why? “, Finally, Mr. Papandreou was asked and answered:”I went to Putin and said, “Can you buy our government bonds?” And he answered me “and you can buy our weapons?”. A challenge».

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