Papandreou fury at EU 'anti-Greek' campaign

Relations between Greece and its 14 European Union allies have plunged this week to perhaps their lowest point since Andreas Papandreou, the socialist Prime Minister, won re-election in October 1993. Mr Papandreou, 76, returned to Athens from the EU summit in Cannes expressing outrage at what he called "an orchestrated campaign" mounted against Greece by other European countries, notably France.

Mr Papandreou, who served as prime minister from 1981 to 1989, said he had "never felt such a stranger within the EU" as at Cannes. Diplomats from other EU countries said he felt insulted at the way President Jacques Chirac of France, the summit host, had publicly criticised Greek policies on Tuesday at an end-of-summit news conference.

Mr Chirac, a centre-right Gaullist, laid into Mr Papandreou for breaking ranks with his EU allies and imposing a trade embargo on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, a country that Greece refuses to recognise on the grounds that its name and flag imply a claim to Greek territory. Mr Chirac also annoyed Mr Papandreou by saying it was time for the EU to develop a closer relationship with Turkey, Greece's main rival.

Greece's foreign ministry spokesman, Constantine Bikas, responded to Mr Chirac's criticisms yesterday by deriding the French leader's understanding of Turkish politics. Referring to Turkey's Prime Minister, Tansu Ciller, Mr Bikas said: "We consider that the logic of unconditional support for Ciller so that [Islamic] fundamentalism does not prevail is simplistic and dangerous."

He continued: "We believe that the same kind of simplistic mistake was made in the 1930s. Humanity paid a heavy price for supporting Nazism in order to contain Bolshevism."

Even before the Cannes summit, Mr Chirac and Mr Papandreou had locked horns. At a dinner for EU leaders in Paris on 9 June, the Greek leader was talking about the right of Serbs to defend their Orthodox faith in former Yugoslavia when Mr Chirac interrupted: "Don't talk to me about wars of religion. These people have no faith and know no law. They are terrorists."

Stung by his treatment at Cannes, Mr Papandreou told reporters that the Greek people should prepare themselves for battle against "decisions taken by the triumvirate of big powers" - presumably France, Germany and Britain, all of which have centre-right governments. But sympathy for Mr Papandreou seems restrained even among his fellow socialist leaders in the EU.

Spain's Prime Minister, Felipe Gonzalez, a socialist who will replace Mr Chirac as head of the EU's presidency on 1 July, made clear he supported the French proposal to cultivate closer ties with Turkey. A scornful Mr Papandreou said: "Mr Gonzalez has identified himself with neo-liberalism. The only socialist thing left is the name of his party."

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker