Tuesday, 9 April 2013
Thatcher on Papandreou: ‘a charming and agreeable man’
Thatcher mentions Papandreou in reference to her battles in Europe to secure British interests and sovereignty. At one point, she describes him as ‘remarkably effective in gaining Community subsidies for Greece’, while, elsewhere, recalling discussions to expand the EEC to bring in Spain and Portugal, she calls him ‘a charming and agreeable man’ and reveals his hardball tactics aimed at securing more European funding for Greece.
‘At least on this occasion it was not Britain but Greece which was marked out as the villain of the piece – and with some justice. The two outstanding issues as regards the terms for Spain’s and Portugal’s entry had turned out to be wine and fish, on both of which the Iberian countries were heavily dependent. The negotiations seemed to be nearing a mutually satisfactory conclusion. It was at this point that Mr Papandreou, the left-wing Greek Prime Minister, suddenly treated us to some classical theatre.
‘A charming and agreeable man in private, his whole persona changed when it was a question of getting more money for Greece. He now intervened, effectively vetoing enlargement unless he received an undertaking that Greece should be given huge sums over the next six years. The occasion for this arose as a result of discussions which had been going on for some time about an “Integrated Mediterranean Programme” of assistance, from which Greece would be the main beneficiary. It seems that the Greeks’ appetite had been further whetted by unauthorized discussion of large sums within the Commission. Mr Papandreou’s statement threw the Council into disarray. Everyone resented not just the fact that Greece was holding us to ransom, nor even the particular tactics used, but still more the fact that, though Greece had been accepted into the Community precisely to entrench its restored democracy, the Greeks would not now allow the Community to do exactly the same for the former dictatorships of Spain and Portugal.’