(Giulietto Chiesa was a key speaker at the Aegina Society of Active Citizens’ function “Capodistrias and Spinelli today – European Union: Disintegration or a new beginning?”, held in Aegina on 23rd June 2013.)
G. Chiesa’s visit to the Capodistrian buildings of Aegina: VIDEO
Persuading Daniel Cohn-Bendit of the importance of Capodistrias: VIDEO
The crisis in Ukraine, which clearly affects the international community, is a matter for deep concern, threatening both the sovereignty of Ukraine and the independence of Europe, triggering an unwelcome polarisation of the international system and impacting an always fragile geopolitical balance.
We would like it to be borne in mind that a historical transition from a unipolar world – with the US as the sole superpower – towards a multipolar world is underway and that this process should be aided and abetted rather than contained. The whole world, including Europe and the United States, will gain from a jointly-conducted re-organisation of global governance that recognizes multipolarity.
We believethat Europe is able to contribute positively to the peaceful emergence of a multipolar world. Indeed the Ukrainian crisis has shown that, while an independent and open Europe provides grounds for the emergence of a multipolar world, a one-sided Europe creates the conditions for a world polarized between a Western bloc and the new global powers.
Therefore, we strongly oppose the disruption of Euro-Russian relations, with the deployment of troops on both sides of the Euro-Russian border, and in particular of US military troops on Europe’s territory, with the growing tensions provoked by the uncoordinated free-trade policies of Europe and Russia on common border countries such as Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova.
We consider that the Ukrainian crisis calls for the establishment of a diplomatic arena to discuss Europe’s and Russia’s rights to organize their common markets in a framework of peaceful coexistence.
We note the humanitarian emergency situation in Ukraine and crimes and abuses committed against the civil populations during the Ukrainian crisis and urge that these should be promptly dealt with and investigated.
We believe that the Euro-BRICS framework of co-operation can provide the proper mediation that is required for a positive outcome to be achieved.
The situation requires global leaders with a high sense of historical responsibility and collective interest.
We believe that responsibilities for the crisis in Ukraine must be shared between Europe and Russia. On the basis of the recognition of each player’s responsibilities it will become possible to rebuild peace in Ukraine and revive Euro-Russian relations.
RESUMING EURO-RUSSIAN RELATIONS TO CREATE THE CONDITIONS FOR A UKRAINIAN-LED CRISIS RESOLUTION
It is up to the Ukrainian people to organize and rebuild peace in Ukraine. However there is no way tensions between the pro-Russian and pro-European Ukrainians will de-escalate if tensions between Russia and Europe do not de-escalate first. Therefore, for the sake of peace in Ukraine, we require European and Russian leaders to re-launch a constructive dialogue, in particular encouraging the media to provide more objective information and correct any misinformation that might lead to future conflict.
Note This draft is almost completely extracted from a joint declaration of academicians, professors, journalists, former political personalities of the BRICS countries. I believe that a dialogue could be built on this basis.
N.B. The English text of the EuroBRICS joint declaration on Ukraine is at:
With English subtitles.
Discussion on Democracy and the European Union between Antigone Lyberaki, Wayne Hall and Christos Kotsireas, recorded 17/12/’13
An exceptionally successful function was held on 23rd June in the forecourt of the Church of the Saviour in the Capodistrian Orphanage in Aegina. Entitled “Capodistrias – Spinelli today – European Union: Disintegration or a New Beginning”, it was organized by the Aegina Association of Active Citizens with the support of the Municipality of Aegina, providing continuity with past initiatives.
In this moving, historic and captivating milieu in Aegina town, a large audience listened attentively, for two-and-a-half hours, to presentations from Messrs. Panagiotis Paspaliaris, Andreas Koukos and Giulietto Chiesa, then contributing observations and comments and asking questions. The mayor of Aegina, S. Sakkiotis, greeted the meeting, emphasizing the special contribution of the Association of Active Citizens to publicizing the Capodistrian heritage of Aegina, modern Greece’s first capital. He announced that there had been a stepping up of the efforts by the Municipality and the Greek government to promote the maintenance and utilization of our island’s Capodistrian buildings, with the relevant works about to get under way shortly, starting with the Kyverneio, for which tenders have already been called.
Opening the function, Mr. Wayne Hall, the key organizer, referred to previous functions of the Aegina Association of Active Citizens under the same title from 2008 onwards, for the purpose of renewing the references to the pioneering and indeed titanic work of Ioannis Capodistrias in Aegina, in Greece but above all in Europe, linking it to that of the architect of the European Union’s first Constitution, Altiero Spinelli.
Subsequently the historian and writer Panagiotis Paspaliaris gave a brilliant presentation of the creative diplomatic achievements of Ioannis Capodistrias as a functionary, and later Foreign Minister, of Russia before, during and after the 1814 Congress of Vienna, marking the end of the Napoleonic Era and the beginning of reorganization of the European continent. He emphasized, among other things, the lean, uncluttered reforming presence of Capodistrias and its contrast with the wasteful, opulent and scandal-ridden presence of the crowned heads of state and their staff whose aim was to restore the old balance of power over the heads of the peoples of Europe. As he said, an examination of the activity of Greece’s first governor leads to the conclusion that he was the most important reforming diplomat promoting democratic principles throughout the European continent. Capodistrias later put the experience and the connections he acquired at that time in the service of the vision for which he was finally to give his life: the emergence of the Modern Greek State.
The journalist and former European parliamentarian Giulietto Chiesa then developed a powerful problematic concerning today’s crisis in Europe, and particularly in the countries of the South, thanking the Association of Active Citizens for giving him the opportunity to become acquainted with Capodistrias and his activity in Europe, foreshadowing Spinelli’s later work in constructing the foundations of the European Union. He stressed how Europe’s democratic deficit is continually widening, highlighting the dominant, and corrosive, role of the world of finance, and particularly the banks, including the European Central Bank, which is a private institution, in undermining European democracy. He made the observation that today’s crisis of the euro is in fact a crisis of the dollar, a consequence of the sub-primes crisis. He proposed a strengthening of democratic institutions in the European Union and specifically the nationalization of the banks of European Union member states and of the European Central Bank (ECB).
He referred to the case of one trillion euros being made available to European banks by the ECB at 1% interest, capital which the banks use for providing loans to southern European countries at 4% interest, reaping significant profit for themselves.
Summarizing the content of the two previous speakers’ addresses, Andreas Koukos, historian, professor at the Military School and President of the Society for the Study of the Work of Ioannis Capodistrias, mentioned his numerous visits to Aegina in recent years to take part in functions, primarily of the Active Citizens and of the Municipality, for study and transmission of the work the Governor, highlighting Capodistrias’ pioneering role in Europe. He referred to the specific allusion to Capodistrias made by Henry Kissinger in his writings, describing him as Europe’s constitutional referee. He also announced the forthcoming publication by the society of which he is president of important new archival sources on Capodistrias in a number of European countries. Emphasizing the importance of historical archival research and of the archives themselves, A. Koukos reminded the audience of the unique value of the small local Capodistrian archive of Aegina, Greece’s first state archive, and the need to maintain its accessibility.
In the protracted and intense discussion that followed there was much airing of citizens’ profound concern and anxiety in the face of the long-term structural crisis through which we are living and there was a call for the drawing-up of an Aegina declaration for democratization of the European Union in the spirit of Ioannis Capodistrias and Altiero Spinelli. A proposal by the Association of Active Citizens is under discussion with the Municipality for European recognition of the work of Capodistrias and indeed the naming of an official building in Brussels as a tribute to the Governor.