The crisis that is currently engulfing Europe is more than an economic crisis. It is a systemic political crisis, a real danger for the European Union and the Eurogroup, and it should be addressed urgently and politically.
In Greece, the government coalition is falling apart in a frenetic race for political capitalisation by any and all sitting politicians who have forgotten the potential bankruptcy of the country and care only about collecting votes for the next election.
Within this context, on 10 February, the small far-right LAOS party withdrew from the coalition after it pledged that it would be voting for the austerity agreement, yet without withdrawing its ministers from government.
After a couple of hours, the four LAOS ministers participating in the government resigned, although two of them stated that they would be voting in favour of the agreement. At the same time, two ministers of the coalition government from the PASOK party resigned, while George Papandreou continued to represent his party in the negotiations with the EU, despite no longer having any followers.
With such content, Ugo Tognazzi, could have staged a fantastic Opera Buffa.
In Germany Angela Merkel, who until yesterday was finger pointing at Greece, threatening its bankruptcy and dismissal from the EU and the Eurogroup, unquestionably in view of the coming German election, suddenly on the same day said “we cannot allow Greece to bankrupt or withdraw from the Eurozone”.
Nicolas Sarkozy in France has done exactly the same – he is using threats against Greece, pushing Greece deeper into crisis in the same way that Germany is doing, in order to gain votes in the next French election. But both Merkel and Sarkozy are likely to lose their respective elections, not because of Greece, but because they did not provide any leadership during this time of crisis.
The point is not Greece. The cost of letting it go bankrupt is much higher than keeping it alive and that is why it is unlikely that the EU will let this happen. The point is Europe, and the need to show solidarity, understanding and tolerance to the wrong-doing member states, while at the same time supporting them with high-level professionals who understand the problems and recommend solutions.
Not like the circus sent to Greece, which in two years’ time has done nothing but encourage the maintenance of the status quo with the result that there are today one million unemployed in the private sector, instead of being in the public sector. Indeed, if the European emissaries could have achieved that, today Greece would probably be the strongest economy in the Eurozone.
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