Regardless of what one thinks of the path of fiscal measures in the greek state, what is happening in the higher levels of european bureaucracy and state politics is a new low.
After EU ministers issued statements of Eurozne institutions without the consent of one its member states, and had meetings deliberately excluding one of its ministers, now EU government ministers as well as unelected officials are campaigning against a member state government position, by misrepresenting it, and are threatening the greek people with expulsion from eurozone institutions.
After the last round of negotiations, the Greek government, a coalition with a major party who got 36% of the vote, decided to ask the Greek people to have the final word on the issue. The Greek people will be asked to either accept or reject the EU/ECB/IMF proposals and conditions for new loans. Outcries against the idea of asking the people, were swift.
The most insulting of the reactions (so far) came from the unelected president of the European Commission who urged the Greeks to vote yes because “[voting] No would mean that Greece is saying no to Europe”. Mr Juncker, the former prime minister of the tax haven of Luxembourg, should be ashamed of himself and stop insulting other Europeans by suggesting that disagreeing with his prefered fiscal policy is somehow anti-european. Others might object and say that for unelected officials to issue threats to member states of the Union, is out of place.
Mr Juncker is not alone in what Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz called “Europe’s Attack on Greek Democracy”. German, French, and Italian top officials publicly said that rejecting a negotiating proposal for a loan is equivalent to rejecting the Euro. There are no mechanisms for a country to leave the Euro – the threat therefore is quite an aggressive one. As the greek minister pointed out:
European Treaties make provisions for an exit from the EU. They do not make any provisions for an exit from the Eurozone. […]. To ask us to phrase the referendum question as a choice involving exit from the Eurozone is to ask us to violate EU Treaties and EU Law
The move of the european elites to threaten and bully the Greeks, is one of the most depressing moments in post-war European Democracy. As the former advisor to the European Commission, and current senior visiting fellow at the London School of Economics, points out:
the hijack of eurozone institutions by narrow-minded creditors is proving far more tyrannical than earlier currency crises ever were. The beautiful European ideal of peace, prosperity, and democracy has given way to brutal power politics.