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Papandreou and his ministers deliver lectures at US universities

01 October 2012 / 22:10:56  GRReporter
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Greek politicians of PASOK, who were in key positions during the outbreak of the economic crisis in the country, are spending more time abroad, in particular at the prestigious US Harvard University. The majority of them are former ministers in George Papandreou’s office, who governed Greece and signed the first Memorandum of financial support.

The former Prime Minister, who was in the USA until a few days ago, has laid the foundations. According to sources familiar with the matter, this was George Papandreou’s second visit to Harvard after the heavy defeat of PASOK. The first one had been in 1989, when PASOK led by his father Andreas Papandreou had lost to New Democracy of Constantinos Mitsotakis.

He remained there for one year and attended a seminar programme, designed for people who would like to play a leading role in the political life of their countries.

Former minister in the government of Costas Simitis, Petros Efthimiou, has also started to follow the same programme of lectures recently. Former Minister of Education Anna Diamantopoulou is  xpected to "flee" to Harvard, for 40 days initially, as well. The lecture by George Papandreou’s faithful collaborator, Pavlos Geroulanos, is expected tomorrow. The former Minister of Culture will present his speech in the same room, number 166, and he is expected to board the return flight the same day.

Former Minister of Finance George Papakonstantinou will make a presentation at the Business school of the same university during the first ten days of October. The so-called "King of the memorandum" will present his views on the same subject at the Centre for Globalization at Yale University, where he received his diploma a few years ago.

According to reliable sources, other members of PASOK - participants in the governments of George Papandreou and Lucas Papademos, have been planning, or have already made, lightning visits abroad and to renowned centres of policy and communication.

The common thing between them is that their connections with the new party leadership are of different intensity: moderate, lively, "icy" or nonexistent.

Anna Diamantopoulou will be delivering lectures on European issues at Kennedy School for 40 days. She has been invited as a former commissioner within the accepted practice for universities to invite former commissioners. Her lectures will be open to students in master's programmes whereas the seminars will take place in a closed circle. Then, she will be "repeating" her programme for one year.

Obviously, the changes in PASOK do not bother her after her "breakup" with its new leadership. This is evident from the data on her website. There are no party symbols on it and the phrase, "The old is dying, the new is born. Let's make a new start for Greece with knowledge, experience and youthful impulse" has been written instead.

Pavlos Geroulanos, a member of the so-called group of "gardeners" of George Papandreou and one of his closest associates, was not elected a deputy either. According to sources, he has returned to the family business, which is fish breeding. It was also on the list of commitments with which the former Minister of Culture set off to the USA. His lecture tomorrow will refer to the developments in Europe and one of the other lecturers will be Richard Parker – an eminent economist and an adviser to the government of George Papandreou. After three months, Pavlos Geroulanos will speak at other American universities. At the same time, he has still been dealing with party affairs in his constituency.

Former Minister of Finance George Papakonstantinou will leave Paris, where he is at present, to deliver two lectures on the euro zone at Harvard and Yale Universities. Along with that, he has not closed his political office in Athens, he has been writing a book about the events during the reign of George Papandreou and is preparing his next moves. His close associates say that George Papakonstantinou has been preparing a dynamic return to political life in Greece.

Meanwhile, George Papandreou has been travelling around the world and it's not certain that he will attend the vote on the new economic measures in parliament. He intends to stay in Athens for two weeks, but in the meantime, he might leave again if there are new proposals for lectures, for example from Norway. In this case, the former Prime Minister will take advantage of the opportunity that the rules of parliament provide and he will send his vote in a letter to the parliamentary chairman.

Under the arrangement with Yale University, he is to deliver six lectures entitled "Redesigning Europe" to about 150 students from different countries. According to George Papandreou, "the scope of the experiment was tested after the financial crisis has turned into a debt one and Greece has found itself at the centre of developments."

His associates say he has contacts with the new leadership of PASOK as well as with some of the most important ministers in the government of Antonis Samaras, such as the Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras.

Tags: PoliticsGeorge PapandreouLecturesHarvardFormer ministers
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