The fight about Greece’s bailout deal that is taking place within the Eurozone and the EU is not just about the sums of money that Greece may or may not get, and the reforms that it may or may not implement in return. There is a deeper fight about the nature of the European project and even the soul of Europe that cannot be ignored.
The paradox inherent in the planned Greek referendum is that a “no” vote directed at the EU might be a “yes” for a better Europe. The same Europeans, whom the EU is now trying to force-feed a false “salvation”, might end up saving the true European Idea, even if it’s at the price of renouncing the current institutional attempts to implement it.
On Monday, 22 June, there was yet another Eurogroup meeting in Brussels concerning the Greek crisis. But like many previous attempts to reach an agreement, a conclusive decision was again postponed. Meanwhile, in the Greek capital, Athens, people are anxiously waiting for an answer. It is becoming evident that Greece should not have joined the euro the time it did but it is too late to change that. Ordinary citizens suffer and the country is on the brink of collapse, or social unrest. It is clear that European elites must reach some compromise, not for the sake of SYRIZA, but for the people of Greece.
By Panagiota Manoli and Georgios Maris
Until recently, especially in financial governance issues, studies had paid little attention to the role of the European Parliament (EP), rather focusing on other institutions such as the European Council, the Commission and the European Central Bank. In a chapter that we contributed to a recently published book,* we discuss the role of the EP in the management of the global financial crisis that erupted in 2008 and soon spread into the Eurozone economies.
Among other issues, the year 2015 will continue to be marked in Europe by renewed tension between the European Union and its somewhat “problematic” Member State, Greece; tension of almost unprecedented nature, certainly long-lasting and with unpredictable consequences for everyone. At the political level, this is a tension that pits a relatively radical version of the left, which is dominant in the new Greek government, against conservative liberalism, which is little questioned by social democracy that is associated with power in Germany and Europe more generally, as a moderately influential minority partner.
The European Central Bank (ECB) is to start buying up sovereign bonds from 9 March. Its president, Mario Draghi, believes that the programme of unprecedented monetary stimulus in the Eurozone will succeed in stemming the threat of deflation in the region. Next week will see an enormous machinery set in motion for the purchase of public debt on a mass scale from the 19 countries in the monetary union. Known as quantitative easing (QE), this has now been renamed by the ECB as the Public Sector Purchase Programme (PSPP) and will consist of bond purchases up to €60bn per month.