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Posted June 12 , 2013

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Ted Talks

George Papandreou: Imagine a European democracy without borders

Greece has been the poster child for European economic crisis, but former Prime Minister George Papandreou wonders if it's just a preview of what's to come. “Our democracies," he says, "are trapped by systems that are too big to fail, or more accurately, too big to control” -- while "politicians like me have lost the trust of their peoples." How to solve it? Have citizens re-engage more directly in a new democratic bargain.

George Papandreou draws on lessons learned from the Greek debt crisis as he helps guide the EU through difficult waters.

George Papandreou, a third-generation scion of Greece’s defining political dynasty, entered the global spotlight with his attempts to re-invent his country during the darkest hours of the European debt crisis. Upon becoming Prime Minister in 2009, his government inherited a deficit that was much larger than had been reported. As PM, he implemented major changes and reforms, but was overtaken by events beyond his government's control.

Papandreou resigned his Prime Minister post in November 2011 as part of a deal to pave the way for a coalition government to restore Grecian stability, but remains a powerful figure as an MP and as President of the Socialist International.

As he says: “We do have a choice. Either we empower Europe and its citizens and become a catalyst for humanizing our global economy, or globalization will dehumanize our societies and undermine the European project. As a citizen of Europe, I vote for the first choice."

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