June 27, 2015
The Greek government is offering five months now concrete proposals and options on how to tackle the deep-rooted financial and structural problems of the Greek economy. These proposals regard the overcoming of fiscal deadlock, the negotiations over a debt relief agreement, and certainly the preparation of a growth plan that could address the devastating macroeconomic burdens of the economy.
On the other side, the institutions have been completely vague in their approach towards the Greek case, jeopardizing the economic and political cohesion of Eurozone and Greece. PM Tsipras, being elected to implement a clearly pro-social program for the Greek economy, that could include austerity measures, but not only that, taking into account the debt struggle and the imminent need for economic growth, reached the final point of his political mandate. Himself and his government unanimously decided yesterday to launch a referendum, putting the Greek people in the place of the final decision-maker: If Greeks vote “Yes”, this means that they accept the proposals of the institutions; if they vote “No”, which is the option that the government supports, they would be firm on the refusal of institutions’ proposals.
On the information side, Greeks are well-aware on the proposals of both sides. Even if there is a sort of disappointment for the fact that the Greek government did proposed austerity measures, those who voted for Syriza in the last elections are now feeling confident and satisfied that their PM did resort to their verdict for such a monumental decision. Strategically, the decision of PM Tsipras to launch a referendum is excellent for two major reasons: the first is that he brings the people of Greece in the negotiation table, even if it risks an opposite outcome in the referendum; the second reason is that he brings back in the discussions a moral and ethical issue, which is the implementation of direct democratic means for decisions of such high stake. If things go calmly this coming week, Tsipras would have achieved something big for his career and nation: to give a true lesson of democracy in Eurozone and the people of Europe that have supported Syriza government in its strong effort to bring Eurozone back on growth and convergence track.
From a broader perspective, and regardless of the initiatives of the Greek government, it is true that the institutions have lost credibility in the eyes of the people in Greece and Europe, In addition, they have also achieved -as equal negotiation partners- to be fiercely criticized by imminent economists worldwide. Most strikingly, the institutions, and mainly Eurogroup and the IMF, have never interpreted the intentions of the Greek government positively, even before Syriza climbed into power. The demonizing propaganda of certain media corporations in Greece and the European Union, and the “war” on Twitter between journalists, economists, scholars, political analysts, MPs and decision-makers was unprecedented in many ways. Information stopped being considered as public good, and turned to be a lasting fight for the truth, the objective facts, the interpretation of what each side in the negotiation table wanted.
Whatever the outcome of this referendum might be, one is certain: as much democratic as the decision of PM Tsipras is, fact is that Eurozone is meticulously pushing Greece in the exit. Should Greece leave Eurozone, the monetary union would be officially associated with what many were saying already since 2010: a true neoliberal, austerity-oriented and punitive for all generations establishment that got deserted from the very first and meaningful foundations of the European Union.
To contact the author Dimitris Rapidis:
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