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Greece: a democratic deficit « Previous | |Next »
June 30, 2011

The police are using tear gas to protect the Greek parliament from violent street protests in Athen's Syntagma Square as MPs approved the austerity measures to secure funds to help avoid the euro zone's first sovereign default. The plaza resembles a war zone.

There is massive and angry public opposition to the austerity measures--- a package of tax rises, cuts to benefits and public spending, and privatisations--- that was forced through the Greek parliament by Brussels. The EU is now largely dictating the terms of Greece's economic policy to the Greek government.

BellSGreece.jpg Steve Bell

Papandreou's Government has failed to put Greece's own house in order by dealing with widespread tax evasion, an incompetent bureaucracy, corruption and cronyism. So the austerity measures demanded by the IMF/ECB had to be imposed. These will just drive the Greek economy into an even deeper recession and it will be less, not more likely that Greece will be able to pay back its creditors.

The premise of the whole Greek bailout exercise has rested on its economy improving, which it has not. So Brussels and the Greek "socialist" Government are in opposition to the Greek people, and the Greek Government has turned repressive towards its own people.

It is no surprise that many of the protests and movements in Greece have focused on the common theme of demanding more direct and local democracy. The EU suffers from a lack of popular legitimacy and the neutering of the democratic voice makes direct action the only feasible option for many Greek citizens.

Greece has a problem in the EU because it membership of the euro has tremendous costs attached to it, in terms of structural deterioration: originally seen as benefits (stronger currency, low real interest rates, higher market confidence in government bonds) these rapidly turned into weaker exports, increased imports and private sector debt, along with ill-considered increased government debt. The cost of remaining in the euro as currently constituted is high for Greece as it acts to stymie economic growth.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:16 AM | | Comments (2)
Comments

Comments

the idea of an integrated European union was always an economistic and technocratic that not rooted in the effective democratic consent of the citizens of Europe.

Yep, all neo liberalism.
The one lesson people should learn, when they start talking of "reform", they are talking of anything but, be cause "reform" is the means by which an undemocratic civilisation is imposed on wider humanity.