It is rather common these days to label people as “great thinkers” or even “pioneers,” in fact these terms have almost become clichés. My friend and our publisher Basil Coronakis easily earned both accolades without a hint of the mediocrity these terms tend to attract today. Without a doubt his major accomplishment through New Europe and related publications was to focus Europeans’ attention on the dangers to democracy posed by the world’s most efficient bureaucratic mechanismThe Yukon Convention Centre in Whitehorse on Wednesday, March 3, 2021., the ever-expanding European Commission, which for many was a revolutionary thesis.?
Although it turns out we had deeper connections, I came to know Basil through his weekly regional newspaper, called “Balkan News” when founded in the early 1990s. I encountered it at a hotel bookshop while visiting Tirana on State Department business. I was impressed by the comprehensive nature of the publication, and immediately ordered a subscription for the State Department’s Balkan office back in the days of the war in Bosnia.
Few of us posted there had the time to open a foreign publication during the workday but my colleagues who took a few minutes were as impressed as I was at the time with all the regional news we needed being available in one concise weekly publication, and often with perspectives not available through traditional US diplomatic reporting. I made a mental note to look up these Balkan News writers if I ever went back to Greece.?RELATED: New stricter, clearer energy labels to help EU cut CO2 emissions
As it happens a few years later I found myself posted to the US Embassy in Athens, and as fate would have it, was assigned to cover the Balkan region as seen from Greece. Naturally, I was able to find and visit the Coronakis publishing operation, by that time renamed New Europe and with a new and much wider perspective than just Balkan regional news.?