On 30 June, Greece defaulted on its loan repayments to the IMF. Providing a counterpoint to anti-austerity commentaries, Richard Corbett, Member of the European Parliament from 1996-2009 and since 2014, argues that the bailout loans and the debt restructuring that Greece received were a show of European solidarity, rather than imposing austerity. Had they not attenuated the pain, he explains, the plight of Greece would have been worse. He also criticises the Greek government’s decision to hold a referendum. This post was first published on Richard Corbett’s website.
It seems that there are just hours left to avoid a drastic situation in Greece.
At first sight, the natural sympathies of many people, especially on the left, will be with Greece. Is this not a plucky little country, standing up to the IMF and the richer eurozone countries to oppose austerity politics? And there can be nothing but sympathy for the plight of ordinary Greek citizens after a big drop in their standard of living, high unemployment and cuts to even basic public services.
But anyone who has actually looked into the figures and the details of this ongoing saga will know that it ain’t so simple.
In this post, Pavlos Eleftheriadis, Associate Professor of Law and a Fellow of Mansfield College at the University of Oxford and a spokesman on EU affairs for the Greek political party ‘To Potami’, argues that a vote in the Greek referendum on Sunday will be a choice for or against Europe.
The Greek referendum is a choice for or against Europe, for the drachma or the Euro, a choice between isolation or engagement with Europe. It is also a vote of confidence, or not, for the new government.
A ‘no’ vote, which the government of Syriza and the Independent Greeks propose, will begin a process of gradual disengagement from the Eurozone and possibly from the EU. A ‘yes’ vote, on the other hand, will be a spectacular defeat for the government, which only a few weeks ago had an approval rating of 60 or 70 per cent. It will also be a powerful statement of intent of the Greek people for staying the course of painful reform, which began in 2010 and has seen the largest fiscal consolidation in history and a drop of 25 per cent in GDP.
Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in economics and University Professor at Columbia University, was Chairman of President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers and served as Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank. In this commentary, he describes the true nature of the ongoing debt dispute as being about power and democracy much more than money and economics—and takes a stance on how he would vote in the Greek referendum. This post was first published by Project Syndicate.
The rising crescendo of bickering and acrimony within Europe might seem to outsiders to be the inevitable result of the bitter endgame playing out between Greece and its creditors. In fact, European leaders are finally beginning to reveal the true nature of the ongoing debt dispute, and the answer is not pleasant: it is about power and democracy much more than money and economics.
Kira Gartzou-Katsouyanni, research assistant in European Studies, analyses the differences in views expressed by Syriza towards Europe, and in particular Germany, during its winning electoral campaign, and the views now portrayed in Syriza’s party newspaper since coming to power in January 2015. What implications may this have for the future of Greek negotiations with creditor institutions, and what is actually the mandate of the Greek government?
Over the last three years, I have been closely following the coverage by Syriza’s party newspaper Avgi of the Greek debt crisis, as part of a collaborative research project on the coverage of the Eurozone crisis by the Greek and German print media. The ongoing negotiations between the Greek government and the creditor institutions, as well as the prospect of a Greek government ‘rupture’ with Europe and exit from the Eurozone, today acutely raise the question of what the Greek people want. Can Avgi’s coverage of the crisis during last winter’s election campaign tell us something about the will of the Greek people that it could not explicitly express in the national elections held on 25 January 2015?
Media coverage of the talks between Greece and its Eurozone partners sounds increasingly alarming, but there is no need to run for cover. Filipa Figueira explains why we don’t need to panic about Greece.
The past few months have seen a series of make-or-break meetings between Greece and the other Eurozone countries – culminating on 24 April with a tempestuous Eurogroup meeting in Latvia. There, finance ministers allegedly accused Greek Finance Minister Yannis Varoufakis of being ‘a gambler, a time-waster and an amateur’, and blocked their ears while he was speaking to show their despair. This led Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to reshuffle the negotiating team – Mr Varoufakis has not been fired, but was sidelined, as Deputy Foreign Minister Euclid Tsakalotos will now be heading the negotiations with the Eurogroup.
So are we approaching ‘Grexit’? Most probably not.