Has the European Union been a bad idea?

As a first (and hopefully not last) step towards an objective discussion of today’s situation of the European Union, outside of the logic of parties, parliamentary and “media” conflict, on 16th July there was, with the compliments of Mr. Paschalis and Mrs. Salomi Melissaris, a screening of an extract from the paper presented in 2009 by Mr. Ioannis Coccalas, entitled “From Altiero Spinelli’s Draft to the Treaty of Lisbon”. As Deputy Director of the European Parliament’s office in Athens, Mr Coccalas was at that time one of the speakers at the “Ioannis Capodistrias, Altiero Spinelli, Europe” conference held on 21st June 2009 in Aegina. An introduction to the 16th July screening was presented by Wayne Hall, member of the steering committee of the Aegina Association of Active Citizens. INTRODUCTION I would like us to be in agreement that in today’s discussion it will not be relevant whether we voted YES or NO in the referendum, whether it is mainly Simitis and Papandreou, Samaras and Venizelos, or Tsipras and Varoufakis who are most to blame for the present situation in Greece. I would like us to agree also that it is not going to be relevant today whether we prefer Greece … Continue reading

AEGINA (introduction to the 3-volume history by Georgia Koulikourdi)

As is well-known, the island of Aegina has been an enduring historical presence in the Greek lands. This can be attributed both to the nature of its soils and to its geographical location. The composition of the soil, the climate, the water reserves, the configuration of the coastline, all create the conditions for support of a permanent population of between five and six thousand inhabitants. Its geographical position, virtually at the centre of the Saronic Gulf, makes possible a great increase in this demographic potential. As a result, Aegina, unlike the rest of islands of the Saronic Gulf, has been continuously inhabited since 3500 B.C. and so possesses important monuments from all historical periods. It could therefore be an ideal centre for studying Greek civilization as a whole. The mythical tradition of Aeacus and the Aeacidae reflects the political, economic and cultural significance of Aegina at its zenith. Particularly emphasized is the notion that the Aeginetans were descended from the island’s ants, making them a people indigenous to the island. In its long history, Aegina has gone through periods of great prosperity. Especially during the Archaic age (734 B.C. – 459 B.C.) it became an important naval and mercantile power … Continue reading