HOW WE SEE IT #1 – Greece

Why I love Greece – And why everyone must love his..

ARTICOLO DI:

Katerina Terlixidou
Student in M1 Science Politique at Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

Ever since the Greek financial crisis began in 2009, consecutive governments have been criticised for their inability in dealing with its financial and social aspects. And it is true. Every government, from Karamanlis to Tsipras, has been unable to face the various aspects this situation has created. A rise in unemployment (reaching almost 25% in June 2015), high suicide rates (which have reached 35% in a little less than two years due to tough financial austerity measures), and lower income are only some examples of what the politico- economical environment has shaped for its people.

A quantitative and qualitative analysis is important when dealing with this question. But there is more to the issue than statistical details. It is significant to see that this crisis surpasses its financial and political borders; having spent four years abroad, and opened myself to different people and new approaches, I can see that the Greeks are loosing confidence, and most importantly, they have stopped caring for their country. While the majority blames the politicians and the wealthier for leading the country to this stage, we must understand that everyone had their part in this “theatre” played upon the Greeks. It is the woman who decided not to get a receipt from her tailor in order to get a lower price; the man who, decided to fix his car in an acquaintance and so refused to get a receipt; the children who criticised a poorer child for his lunch-box or his clothes; university students who abuse their rights and close faculties retarding their education.

I have the chance to come from a family where, even when financial difficulties occurred, they where the first to tell me that everything will be fine. Some may think this is just ignorance; but it’s not. It is hope that everyone (from politicians to middle-class families) will understand, their role in this aggravating situation. One must not forget how Greece got to this place and that solutions must be found. However, as a person who loves her country, I do not want Greece to be remembered as a country which delayed a debt payment of €300m to the IMF, whose governments were proved to be the one more inefficient than the other, whose administration is so malfunctioning that allows refugees to starve in central squares of Athens.

Many of my friends who had the chance to visit Greece all mentioned how the majority of Greeks are exceptionally hospitable, how they are kind, generous and intelligent. What they insisted on was the fact that Greece is a beautiful, fascinating and interesting country, something that the Greeks rarely proclaim and seem a little reluctant to acknowledge.

There is certainly more to Greece than the financial crisis, political instability and migration problems; it is the islands, the light, the sea, the sun, the food, the people. It is home, and for this reason everyone must take responsibility for damaging it.

GREEK CRISIS – Europe from a Greek perspective

ARTICOLO DI:

Vasilije Krivokapić, Aleksandar Drekalović

Montenegrin Association of Political Science Students

Before the great political crisis, Greece was a country where eurosceptics accounted for half of the population. The European Commission poll from 2014 showed that 44% of Greeks had a negative attitutde about the EU; below Greece were Cyprus with 38% of eurosceptics and Austria with 36%.

After the escalation of the economic crisis in Greece, a so called „Grexit“ attitute started to become prevalent in the eyes of many countries in the European Union, expecially in Germany and France. In Germany, 60% were for the Greek walkout form the Eurozone, whereas in France almost 45% respondents were for that option.

The referendum in summer of 2015 showed that the people of Greece were against the enforced austerity measures, which gave Tsipras and SYRIZA green light to continue with their left-wing induced economic policies. Those results indicated that majority of Greeks were acknowledging a possibly better and more proficient way of dealing with the economic crisis which almost led the country into complete bankruptcy, and thus, only confirmed that the public opinion was getting more and more eurosceptical.

Greek „NO“ (oxi) many saw as a direct attack on capitalism, and thus, warned that the „Greek fever“ could spread into other EU member countries with huge public debts, primarly on Spain and Portugal, and even Italy.

This chain of events was not viewed with much simpathy in the rest of EU, expecially not in Germany, the biggest creditor in the EU. The German goverment wanted a more efficient and concrete way of dealing with the ever deteriorating economic crisis. Tsipras could not deal with the ever rising pressure that was coming from Germany, and finally he pulled out of office.

However, SYRIZA won the early elections, and Tsipras returned but with far more moderated policies than those which were imposed after the referendum.

The Greeks viewed this shift of policies as a betrayal, and unwillingly, accepted that the only way of dealing with the current economic situation in Greece is to do what the EU wanted.

The left-wing charisma lost all of its charm.

Not suprisingly, as the support for Tsipras was decreasing, the number of eurosceptics was also decreasing. The most recent polls showed that 41% Greeks thought that their countiy belonged to the Eurozone,  whereas 36% was against, and 23% had no answer.

If these numbers were to be comprared with those from the beginning of the article, the only conclusion one can get is that the strict and concrete diplomacy of Angela Merkel provoked a response from Greece that was beneficial for the Eurozone.

The European Union was not willing to liberate Greece from their public debt, but on the other hand, it helped Greece with more economic aids to relieve and stabilize the Greek economy.

Will Greece be able to use the economic aid from the EU is a question where the answer is still pending. One thing is for cetrain; Tsipras’s every next move will be judged by the ever sceptical public opinion and the EU creditors.

Greece summer 2015 – “Should she stay or should she go?”

ARTICOLO DI:

Héloïse SINTES 

Journal Trait d’Union

Should she stay or should she go? On the 12th of July, after a so-called marathon summit (the Guardian), the 19 Eurozone leaders, by reaching an agreement avoiding the Grexit, had answered that still pending question. Greece belongs to the Eurozone and there is no multi-speed Europe. 

Why? According to Greek mythology, Europe was born more than two thousand years ago in Ancient Greece. But this summer, after the Greek people had said “NO” (OXI) to the bailout conditions proposed by the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank, Modern Greece had seemed to be about to quit the Eurozone. Moreover, that “NO” had been applauded by leftwing party all around Europe as a massive attack against capitalism and austerity advocated by the EC. On top of that, the 12th of June 2015, three weeks before the referendum, in Germany, a poll conducted by ZDF said than 51% of the German spoke in favor of “Grexit”.

Europe was burning and there was an emergency to deal with Grexit in order to save the Eurozone from falling out.

The final shot summit occurred from the 12th of July to the 13th (longest summit ever) in Brussels and despite his victory on the referendum, standing with his back on the wall because of German’s intransigence, Tsipras has been the one making concessions and conceding to further swathe of austerity measures and economic reforms.

An agreement and so what? Today, there are two ways to understand the Greek current situation. On the one hand, the optimistic one saying that with Tsipras winning the last legislative elections (September 2015), the Greek sky is clear: one economic agenda and a Prime Minister with the support of most of the Parliament. But on the other hand, a country forced in forcing march reforms in front of all its creditors, a population strangled by an unsustainable debt…

Brussels has to keep a close eye on Greece where the situation remains highly flammable, instead of this, as it always does, the European Union will react too late, once the disaster would have been declared.