The new government of Greece was the only one of the 28 governments in the E.U. that is not prepared to sign a declaration attributing to Russia the responsibility for the rocket attack on the Ukrainian city of Mariupol. It did so immediately after the swearing in of the new cabinet. It did so out of sympathy for Putin’s aggressive anti-Western policies.
Greece is now Putin’s Trojan horse in Europe. This is a more serious threat than the new government’s financial demands.
Source: Jochen Bittner, die Zeit, January 29
The confrontation with Greece’s creditors can be seen as a clash between populism and dogma: on one side, a government that gained power by exploiting anger and despair; on the other, the creditor countries and organizations that insist on austerity even in the face of evidence that it is destroying a country and its people.
But it also raises the issue of democracy, and how the rights of one nation can clash with the rights of others. If the democratically elected Greek government reneges on the country’s commitment to repay its debt, this will be at the expense of taxpayers in partner countries.
If the European Union pushes Greece hard for further austerity to get back the loans, this may crush the will of Greek voters. And if the European Union leaves Greece in its proud isolation, where its economy will most likely collapse, will all Greeks be forced to pay for the mistakes of a government elected by 36 percent of them (along with the less than 5 percent who voted for its partner [the right wing Independent Greeks, whose 13 Parliament members are now added to Syriza’s 149])?
Political developments in Greece now demand a serious discussion on the relationship among Europe’s peoples, and on the need for reform to spring from hope, not punishment.
Source: Nikos Konstandaras, The New York Times, January 30