This article addresses the sensitive question of Church-State relations in Greece. Recent studies have suggested that the Greek Church’s discourse was plainly incompatible with modern conceptions of liberal democracy. Populism and nationalism have been the two theoretical concepts used in relation with the Church. Discourse analysis based on public declarations of Church officials has been the main methodological tool. The Greek identity cards’ crisis of the nineties has been its testing ground. Through an analysis of this “crisis” this article intends to show that these methods can offer only very limited perspectives of understanding the process for two main reasons. First, they show little interest for sociological analysis and especially for the internal functioning of the Church. Second, discourses are one outcome of the actors’ strategies but have to be deciphered and not taken for granted. Analysts disregard one of the main presuppositions of semantics theory: discourses are produced within a specific socio-historical context and according to certain prefabricated schemes. This dual pattern of production allows for continuity as well as for change. Thus, this article also argues that a Church¹s conservative discourse may be closely related to the efforts of certain actors within this institution to renovate it. While refuting the “clash of civilizations” thesis, this article finally intends to suggest that the renewed interest for religion in general and orthodoxy in particular due to this thesis should be put to use by researchers in order to acquire new and more comprehensive socio-historical accounts of the Greek Church.
The political determination of the Mediterranean border of the European Union seen from the perspective of the Southern European countries (Spain, Italy, Greece, Malta) illustrates the symbolic and political importance for these nations of maintaining control of the border. It has a significant impact on the types of controls that are enacted and the interplay between national and European decisions. Placing this question on the agenda brings to light a Mediterranean perspective regarding the exterior borders of the European Union that is largely determined by the conditions of integration of the different countries into the Schengen area. This new border regime is the result of complex political games and is seen as a security issue. The actual set of controls seems to be less planned and legal-rational than simply erratic and the result of tensions between internal tactics, nation state strategies and attempts at bringing within the ring of EU.
Enlargement today is a priority on the European agenda. Examining Portugal and Greece from a comparative perspective with respect to Poland, this Study analyzes the original and specific paths each of these national configurations have taken as regards administrative and institutional changes, particularly through the regional dimension, policy reorientations and modes of government. Given the large body of acquis communautaire that must be integrated, the nature of Commission involvement and the highly regulatory nature of European directives, this dimension emerges as the most significant in the process of Europeanization: public administration acts as a filter in this dynamic and nation-states are paradoxically strengthened by European integration. This comparison is an opportunity to underscore the importance of innovations and the singularity of modes of government, suggesting that certain arrangements put into practice in cohesion countries may provide sources of inspiration for the new entrants, which are faced with similar problems of administrative competence, bureaucratic blockages and political and state legacies that are remote from the European model of public administration, civil service organization and rules. With the effect of European constraints, a threefold dynamic is at work: a dynamic of delegation, or privatization, through the creation of agencies, offices and institutes, a dynamic of politicized (re)centralization, and a dynamic of political, institutional and social innovation. Thus components of these models are constantly borrowed and reshaped, hybrid constructions are formed and configurations take shape that are no less European than what can be found in the “heart” of Europe.