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The financial and economic crises that gripped Greece in 2010 set in motion a domino effect that upset the stability of the euro and rattled the Eurozone markets. It also, perhaps inevitably in a time of such widespread uncertainty, opened the floodgates to a seemingly endless stream of accusations and recriminations, as the contemporary press and European political elites engaged in an often myopic blame game regarding the economic, financial and, above all, political origins of the crisis. As the Greek financial woes polarised opinion and accelerated the emergence of clear divisions between northern and southern members of the European Union, former French president Valery Giscard d’Estaing, remembered among other things for the instrumental role that he played in welcoming Greece into the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1981, dived into the fray to admit that supporting Greek membership had been a mistake.1 Possibly the most high-profile actor to make a direct link between today’s crisis and Greece’s entry into the Community over three decades ago, Giscard helped to renew interest in the history of Greece and European integration. This heightened interest from the public now calls for a deeper understanding of Greece’s relationship with Europe that must go beyond short-termist, ahistorical analyses. As Bo Strath aptly puts it, ‘politics must have a Janus face towards both the past and the future in order to correctly estimate the magnitudes’ and the complexities involved in any event.2
KeywordsMember State Common Agricultural Policy Association Agreement Accession Talk Council Presidency
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