Syriza’s Greek Spring, Europe’s push for fall
They had it coming. All the Greek “elites,” as the victorious Alexis Tsipras of the leftist coalition Syriza calls them, the European Union bosses and the international monetary circles had it coming; The Greek voters in the Jan. 25 elections said enough to the austerity measures and gave the socialists a chance to find a way out of the country’s economic crisis.
They had it coming, because the austerity measures were like the Versailles agreement imposed on Germany by France in 1919, this time on a smaller scale and on Greek people aiming to take more than they could give.
To be frank, the system in Greece of non-producing, government jobs with inflated salaries for doing almost nothing before the crisis was not sustainable at all.
But it was not all the Greek voters’ fault for being a part of that system; politicians who could not create jobs or economically-viable projects which can make use of EU support for the common good of the people choose subsidizing them with Euro-funds, a growing sort of addiction.
Now, people from Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to Jens Weidman of the German central bank (since it was German government who took the initiative to “save” Greece from the Euro-crisis) and from Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany to Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, are trying to put pressure on Tsipras in order to abide by the austerity measures imposed by the EU and the IMF.
But that is exactly why the Antonis Samaras government lost the power and the elections, and why Tsipras won.
The Euro-pressure included manipulation of public opinion as if Tsipras and Syriza are promoting an anti-European movement, whereas they openly say they are for restructuring of the former governments’ debts to better the lives of the Greek people.
What is the point of having the government if Tsipras is going to keep the economic plan as it is? The Greek voters’ decision deserves some respect from Western Europeans who love to say Greece was the cradle of democracy; it is a Greek word after all.
Perhaps it would be going too far to say that Syriza could start a chain reaction in European politics, but it certainly is a signal that the patience of both working and unemployed people on the continent is growing thinner against the incompetence of their political leaders and greed of financial markets working against the benefits of the social state.
Neither the austerity recipes by the EU and the IMF, nor the euro as the Greek currency, are unchangeable. It is clear by now some of the Eurozone problems are caused by biting off more than it can chew.
Perhaps it is time to talk about the once-popular British model of a multi-speed Europe; this time as in and out of the Euro-zone. The EU is still the most successful peace and development project and it should not be ruined just for the sake of keeping the euro as the single currency for all.
And if that would be the case, perhaps Turkey could find a place for itself in that multi-speed Europe, which both Germany and France would not object to in the way they object to full membership under the current circumstances.