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Constantine Karamanlis, Why Greece Joined the European Union

Speech on the Entry of Greece into the EU, January 1, 1981

ELPENOR EDITIONS IN PRINT

Although it is an important historical event, Greece's membership of the European Community will not involve any change of climate for my country. Europe, which bears a Greek name, is an area with which Greece is familiar, since its civilisation is a synthesis to which, as I have had occasion to say elsewhere, the Greek mind has contributed the concepts of liberty, truth and beauty; the Roman mind, the concept of the State and of justice; and Christianity, faith and love. This is the common civilisation upon which we are called to build the new Europe. I believe that the unification of Europe will be the greatest political event in the history of our continent. An event that will influence not only the destiny of Europe but also the course of all humanity. For it will stabilise relations between the powers of the world, it will guarantee Europe's independence and contribute to the strengthening of world order and peace.

Greece joins Europe convinced that national independence will be consolidated for all parties concerned within the framework of European solidarity; that democratic liberties will be strengthened; that economic expansion will accelerate and that, with the co-operation of all, social and economic progress will become a common asset. (...) A united Europe will preserve and advance European culture. It is obvious that this culture faces the danger of decadence. (...) Confusion of ideas and eudemonism together with a cruel logic that tends to ignore man as the purpose of social life, have distorted the cultural exemplar of Europe. (...) It is time for the European Faust to attempt a new journey to the land of measure and balance in order to bring forth again Euphorion. Only Europe, who generated all ideas, can rennovate and humanise them again. Provided that we won't put forward as primary target of the European Union material prosperity. (...)

As of today, Greece irrevocably accepts this historical challenge and its European destiny while preserving her national identity. We have confidence both in Europe and in Greece. We have decided to all be Europeans, as Churchill would say, and to all remain Greeks, as Shelley would say. For, to quote Isocrates, the Greeks are not those who are born in Greece but those who espouse the Classical spirit. 

 

       Cf. Cicero, I have spared no pains to make myself master of the Greek language and learning * Schiller, A glorious humanity * Hugo, In a grand parliament of intelligence * Emerson, When the Gods come among men - Disclosing in every fact a germ of expansion *  Ortega y Gassett, The birth of the city * Aeschylus, Nobody's slaves * Plato, Tyranny and slavery * Gennadius Scholarius, Words are the fathers of all Good * David Turner, Byzantium : The 'alternative' history of Europe

ELPENOR EDITIONS IN PRINT



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