Rising sun: How will PASOK's revival affect Greek politics?
Season 3, Ep. 9
Greece’s socialist party, PASOK, was the powerhouse of Greek politics since the early 1980s. However, the debt crisis that emerged from 2009 sucked the life out of the centre-left grouping. Its share of the vote fell from 44 pct that year to roughly a tenth of that in 2015 as PASOK became a toxic political brand.Recently, though, the party has been making something of a comeback. It elected a new leader, MEP Nikos Androulakis, at the end of last year and has seen its poll ratings increase to such an extent that it is being talked about as a potential kingmaker or coalition partner in the next government.In the last few days, party members voted to reinstate the party’s traditional name, PASOK, alongside the Movement for Change (KINAL) moniker it had gone under for the last few years. With national elections due in the next 12 months, The Agora podcast takes a closer look at PASOK’s return to the centre stage and what this means for Greek politics.Phoebe Fronista speaks to Irene Kostaki, a former journalist who is now working as a political advisor on EU affairs to Androulakis to find out more about how revitalised the party is and what plans it has.Nick Malkoutzis speaks to political scientist Elias Dinas, currently the Swiss Chair in Federalism, Democracy and International Governance at the European University Institute in Florence, about the political landscape in Greece, the new cleavages that have formed and how PASOK’s revival fits into the broader picture.
Losing game: Greece's weak defence against hooliganism
Season 3, Ep. 8
Following a deadly attack on a 19-year-old football fan in Thessaloniki in early February, the Greek government has announced new measures aimed at reining in hooliganism.However, we've been here before in Greece. So, will the latest measures actually make any difference or are they just a knee-jerk, ineffective reaction to a problem that needs a much wider, consistent approach?We start by asking whether Greece's thinking and methods when addressing sports-related violence are outdated. We spoke to Professor Geoff Pearson, a senior lecturer in criminal law at the University of Manchester, to get a better understanding of how this issue is addressed elsewhere. Geoff is an expert in hooliganism, crowd management and policing.To discuss Greek football's particular ailments, we spoke to Alexandros Kottis, a freelance journalist based in Athens working for AFP and Courier International, among others.He recently wrote an article for the BBC about the sad state of Greek football.Useful linksProfessor Geoff Pearson's publicationsThe infinite chaos of Greek football: How the latest hope for change was lost by Alexandros KottisAlexandros's "Supporters" photo project - https://www.facebook.com/Supporters-1784346485175846/Alkis Kampanos, a 19-year-old Greek football fan murdered for supporting the wrong team - The Athletic
Riding into the danger zone: Greece gets new jets
Season 3, Ep. 7
Greece recently received the first six state-of-the art fighter jets it has ordered from France, hoping that their arrival marks the start of an upgrade of its military capabilities, but also an improvement in its geopolitical standing.The Rafale planes - of which Greece is expecting another 18 - touched down in Greece to much fanfare and excitement. This episode of The Agora examines whether this pomp and circumstance is deserved and how their arrival fits into the broader diplomatic picture.Co-host Phoebe Fronista was there to greet the aircraft and tells us about what she saw and heard. Nick Malkoutzis speaks to MacroPolis foreign policy analyst Alexandra Voudouri and Yiannis Ioannou, co-founder of Geopolitical Cyprus, about the Rafales and the other key developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.Useful linksGreece receives ‘game-changer’ Rafale aircraft from France - Al JazeeraGreece receives six French fighter jets as part of €11.5bn military overhaul - The GuardianThe France-Greece alliance and EastMed geopolitics - Geopolitical CyprusEastMed: A pipeline project that ran afoul of geopolitics and green policies - Politico
The Greek economy: A macro view
Season 3, Ep. 6
The Greek economy is back in focus on this episode of The Agora as we take a peak at the 2022 budget and a closer look at broader trends and challenges.MacroPolis co-founder Yiannis Mouzakis provides a whistlestop tour of the budget, explaining its key elements and what obstacles the Greek government's economic plan could encounter next year.Two men with extensive knowledge of the Greek economy, Bob Traa and Jens Bastian, join us for a broad discussion about causes for optimism, but also reasons to be cautious as 2022 beckons, including low productivity, high unemployment and limited prospects at home for young Greeks.Bob was the IMF’s senior representative in Greece at the outset of the economic crisis, between 2010 and 2013. He has also written a book about the country's economic challenges (more below).Jens is a senior policy adviser at the ELIAMEP think-tank in Athens. He also works an independent economic analyst.Mentioned on this episode:The series of articles by Bob & Jens for MacroPolis: https://www.macropolis.gr/?i=portal.en.the-agora&t=46Bob Traa's book: https://www.amazon.com/Macroeconomy-Greece-Odysseus-Journey-Sustainability/dp/B089CSJCL4Bob's article on migration shifts in the EU: https://www.macropolis.gr/?i=portal.en.the-agora.11150Jens's publications for ELIAMEP: https://www.eliamep.gr/en/members/jens-bastian/
Earth, wind & fire – Greece, clean energy & the climate crisis
Season 3, Ep. 5
In the wake of the COP26 meeting, The Agora analyses what Greece brought to the discussion and how this tallies with the efforts being made on the ground to tackle the climate crisis.The head of policy at WWF Greece, Theodota Nantsou, evaluates the Greek authorities' actions.With the help of journalist Evridiki Bersi, we also take a closer look at wind power and why there are concerns about how this form of renewable energy is being expanded in Greece.First, though, we start with a look back at this summer's devastating wildfires in Greece. Documentary photographer Thodoris Nikolaou tells us what he witnessed in northern Evia, which suffered the most extensive destruction in August.Show notes:Kyriakos Mitsotakis at COP26: https://youtu.be/iBvhVsb5WTkEvridiki's article on wind power for Reporters United: https://www.reportersunited.gr/en/6557/too-much-of-a-good-thing-wind-power-and-the-battle-for-greeces-wild-heart/Thodoris's feature on the Evia wildfires for News247: Η καμένη Εύβοια είναι οι άνθρωποί της (news247.gr)WWF Greece's reaction to PM's COP26 speech: https://www.wwf.gr/ta_nea_mas/?uNewsID=4998416
So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen Angela Merkel
Season 3, Ep. 4
The outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel was a ubiquitous figure during the Greek crisis, often making her a target for the frustrations generated by the austerity policies she and her party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), advocated.Some of that is water under the bridge now and her recent visit to Athens was accompanied by compliments and diplomatic niceties.As she continues her farewell tour, before a coalition led by the Social Democratic Party (SPD) assumes power in Berlin, we look back at the legacy of Merkel’s rocky relationship with Greece, during which she dealt with six different Greek Prime Ministers, and where it leaves ties between Berlin and Athens.Input comes from the head of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation’s (KAS) office in Athens, Henri-Giscard Bohnet, and Christos Katsioulis, who was in charge of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation’s (FES) office in the Greek capital between 2012 and 2017, at the height of Greece’s economic crisis.Useful links:Konrad Adenaeur Foundation Office, Greece: https://www.kas.de/en/web/griechenlandFriedrich Ebert Foundation Office, Greece: https://athens.fes.de/gr/gia-mas/to-fes-stin-ellada
Planes, frigates and assistance clauses - Greece's new defence deals and the Turkish reaction
Season 3, Ep. 3
Greece recently signed two major defence deals, one with France and another with the USA. On this episode, Nick Malkoutzis and Phoebe Fronista examine the significance and implications of these agreements.MacroPolis foreign policy analyst Alexandra Voudouri explains why we should take note of these pacts, which include the purchase of at least three new French frigates. Alexandra also looks at some of the criticism about the accords and takes a broader look at the direction of Greek foreign policy.When signing both defence agreements, Athens clearly had its relations with Turkey in mind. To get a better understanding of how these developments have gone down in Turkey, Nick spoke to Aydin Selcen, an Istanbul-based commentator and former diplomat.Also, Turkish journalist and writer Mehves Evin spoke to The Agora about the domestic difficulties troubling President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and how this may feed into Ankara's actions in the Aegean and beyond.
The lives and legacy of Mikis Theodorakis
Season 3, Ep. 2
Earlier this month, Greece lost one of the most emblematic figures of its modern era, composer Mikis Theodorakis, who died on September 2 at the age of 96.Theodorakis was a multi-talented and multi-faceted figure who left his mark due to his radical politics and public interventions as well as his ground-breaking music, which blended Greek popular sounds with classic elements.On this show, we take a closer look at the influence of this prolific, towering figure. Phoebe Fronista speaks to Dr Panos Stavrianides, an entrepreneur, educator and active member of the Greek American diaspora about the impact Theodorakis’s music and political stance had on him and other Greeks living abroad.Also, Nick Malkoutzis speaks to Dimitris A. Sotiropoulos, a Professor of Political Science at the University of Athens and senior research fellow at the ELIAMEP think-tank, about what impact Theodorakis had on the public sphere and shaping modern Greece’s identity. Their discussion also touches on whether the composer’s passing marks the end of the public intellectual in Greece, and whether this matters.This episode also is interspersed with Theodrakis’s music, much of which is played by the Mandragoras group in Frankfurt, Germany and Achilleas and Nino Anastasiades.Mandragoras: https://www.facebook.com/groups/mandragoras.hannover/Achilleas and Nino Anastasiades: https://www.youtube.com/user/achanast/featuredMore background on TheodorakisBBC documentary by Maria Margaronis: Mikis Theodorakis Remembered: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3ct2ptyThe Guardian obituary by Gail Holst-Warhaft: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2021/sep/02/mikis-theodorakis-obituaryMikis, a Greek for all by Nikos Konstandaras: https://www.ekathimerini.com/opinion/1167289/mikis-a-greek-for-all/
Yearning for a normal Greek summer
Season 3, Ep. 1
The long, hot Greek summer is underway. But will it be like the summers we have grown to love or will Covid-19 get in the way again?The Agora podcast is back: Co-hosts Nick Malkoutzis and Phoebe Fronista launch the third season by trying to find out whether Greece has cause to feel optimistic this summer.Phoebe speaks to the manager of a private beach in southern Athens to find out if the customers are returning and how his business is coping with another summer blighted by the pandemic.Nick speaks to MacroPolis co-founder Yiannis Mouzakis about the broader picture for Greece, looking at the expectations not just for the tourism sector, but for the economy as a whole, especially now that EU recovery funds are on the way.