Thousands of tons of fresh, wholesome Greek fruit sits idly, rotting in warehouses throughout Greece while inept diplomats in Brussels try and figure out what to do about the recent Putin-inspired ban by Russia against European grown food.
It’s an ugly tit-for-tat political game— the United States and the EU imposed sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine spat. Russia responded, kicking the EU where it hurts the most— in the pocketbooks of poor farmers who sell their goods to Russian markets.
In the meantime, thousands of tons of good fruit awaits a diplomatic solution by pencil-pushing politicians in Brussels— most of whom I would venture to wager, have never even been on a farm.
Here’s a novel plan… give the fruit to the poor and hungry people in Greece. Certainly there are organizations in place like Desmos and Boroume that can facilitate the distribution to those who need it most. The Church of Greece, too, through its food distribution program can help.
But what about the poor farmers? Shouldn’t they be compensated? Of course they should— and this is where good, responsible governments come in and show true leadership… Cut a few million here, and a few million there— cut some of the ministers’ expensive travel budgets, for instance.
I’ve experienced this first hand when Greek government ministers (along with their wives and/or girlfriends) have visited Chicago. They stay in expensive suites at the Drake Hotel (I’ve met with several of them there!). Put them up in the Hilton down the street, or the Marriott. They’re cheaper and still centrally located.
What are we talking about here? A few dozen million euros?
A real opportunity for Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to (a) show true leadership and compassion to the Greek people still suffering from the economic crisis and (b) compensate the farmers who toiled to grow these thousands of tons of fruit.
But what will probably happen— like the venues of the 2004 Olympics… There will be in-fighting, interests will get i the way, middle-men will try and get their piece of the action… and the fruit will rot. The losers? Everyone… The winner? Vladmir Putin.