Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos is a third generation diplomat and former Ambassador of Greece to Canada,Poland and Armenia.He was Director General in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece and Secretary General of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization. Extremely knowledgable on issues of the EU and on what is happenning in Greece now, Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos was a junior diplomat in the team that negotiated Greece’s accession to the EEC. He is now against Greece’s membership to the EU and believes that the EU is destroying his country. He is a member of EPAM (Unified Popular Front), a movement that was founded in the wake of the protests of 2010 and 2011.
Julia Vladimirova met him.
“You were on the delegation that negotiated Greece’s accession to the European Community. Why are you now against it?”
” I was in the team that negotiated Greece’s accession to the EEC, as it was called then. The decision to join the EEC was taken in 1975 by Konstantinos Karamanlis and it was based on two political reasons : The first was to consolidate democracy in Greece, that had just been restored after a seven year dictatorship. The other was to give us some protection against Turkey that had just invaded Cyprus in July 1974. During that period the EEC was a serious organization. During the dictatorship it rendered enormous assistance to the democratic forces to fight against the military regime.”
“Now you want to take Merkel and Barroso to court and to leave the EU.What brought about such a radical change in your thinking?”
“In December 2009 I gave an interview to the Greek newspaper “Eleftherotypia” and the title of the interview was “Nightmare a fascist Europe”. It is true that the EU has become more and more undemocratic. It is no longer the democratic organization that we had joined back then. It is also destroying its member states. In Greece it is being done with the austerity measures that have been imposed upon us. Everything is being destroyed : our society, our economy, our culture, our education and our people. So why should we belong to an organization that destroys us. Only a masochist would. I would suggest that the EU be dismantled and be replaced by a new EU that would be working for the interests of the European people and not for the interests of the European bankers.”
“What advice would you give to the young people who believe in the EU? For example in Bulgaria we are also in crisis. There are protests in Sofia. All intellectuals, the elite, and also young educated people believe that their future lies within the EU and that it will help our country to reach higher standards, higher wages. What would you say to these people?”
“I would tell them to closely follow the events in Greece, since what happens to us most likely would happen to them. We are being told by the EU, that in order to become competitive, we must reach Bulgarian standards, as far as wages are concerned. However they will never tell you that you must reach Greek standards, but perhaps they might propose to you to reach Pakistani levels. However, I do not wish to impose my opinion upon them. Just let them follow the developments in Greece and reach their conclusions.”
“How was EPAM created? I know that it was created as a result of the protest movement of 2010.”
“EPAM’s members come from all aspects of politics. From the Communist left, center and right. It is a movement created by the demonstrations of 2010. It became a party about one and a half year ago. We participated in the first elections during the crisis and received 60000 votes or 1% of the total national vote, which can be considered as quite satisfactory for a six month old party. We believe that Greece needs a regime change. We do not recognize the debt or the memoranda. We support the formation of a provisional government and then the election of a Constitutional Assembly that will formulate the new constitution that would, for example, prohibit former politicians to run for parliament while allowing the new ones not to serve more than two terms and in this way end the profession of politicians. We shall also leave the eurozone as a first step and later on the EU. All those who have contributed to the destruction of the country will be tried. We shall also file charges against Brussels at the competent International courts for crimes against humanity, since about four thousand people have committed suicide because of the pressure of the crisis and also ask for reparations for the damage done. In brief this is the EPAM program.”