Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 

Let the Greek people decide?

Posted by Jason O on Jun 6, 2011 in European Union |

Someone has to pay for that wooden horse, you know.

Someone has to pay for that wooden horse, you know.

The recent proposals doing the rounds in European Union circles seem to involve the EU actually appointing officials to Greece to take direct control of collecting of taxes and privatisation that the Greek government has committed to but seems incapable or unwilling of actually carrying through.

Let’s be clear about this. Such a proposal is a form of colonialism. That’s how it will be seen by the Greek people and indeed others in Europe. But we should also recognise that the EU has been forced to consider this extraordinary option because of the inability or unwillingness of the Greek people through their government to take measures which would be regarded as normal in any other eurozone state.

One of the very dangerous concepts that is gaining credibility across both Europe and the US is that elected governments (and the decisions they made, or failed to make)  have nothing to do with their people. The common line is that “austerity” is being forced upon the people.

The reality, on the other hand, is that across the western world large sections of society are outraged at the concept that other people will not fund their unaffordable lifestyles.

That is what the Greek people need to confront.   

The Greek people, perhaps in a referendum, need to make the decision to either reach the standards (including paying taxes and matching spending to revenue) expected of a modern European state, or seize their own sovereignty (including leaving the Euro) and sort out their own problems without bailouts from British, Dutch, Finnish or German taxpayers, possibly through default, and with the subsequent fall in their unaffordable standard of living that would entail. Certainly, German taxpayers would feel more comfortable bailing out their own banks as a result, rather than handing over wads of cash to a country struggling to accept reality. 

The decision must be made by the Greeks as a sovereign people. It is their right. But they must realise that they can’t have it both ways. Either way, the concept of one euro in/one euro out has to apply, regardless of how much of an affront that is to so many used to permanently having their hands out.

1 Comment

Daniel Sullivan
Jun 6, 2011 at 10:41 am

A referendum on the deal, on the basis that there would not be another one renegotiated that might be more palatable would be a good idea. We appear and let’s face it we sort of started it with the Nices and Nephews referendums on Lisbon and Nice, that if you reject the deal that the deal has to change to suit you. When in truth the deal could go on its merry way leaving you to deal with the consequences, in part the failing on the EU’s part is that it never considered what the response to the rejection of deals might be.


 

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