Friday 4 November 2011

Eurozone: Greek invention beckons

After possible exitus letalis, more Greek dra(ch)ma and evaporating marble(s), we return to the multilingual euroblog aggregator for further discussion among virtual friends and unknowns about the crisis in the eurozone.

Democratic foundation

An economic and monetary union (EMU) based on democracy would not have caused a shock such as the Greek announcement, says Eva en Europa. We need to move from summits to politically legitimate decisions on revenue and expenditure at European level (in Spanish).

I agree, democratic and robust at the European level, if we want to prosper.

Papandreou quitting?

Papandreou may be forced to quit, says, and the referendum is on its way out (in Swedish).

The confidence vote takes place in the Greek parliament tonight, but a new phase seems to be in store.

Straight talk on democracy

Papandreou has the laudable reflex to put the question back to the people, but he is wrong, writes Stefan Collignon. The will of the Greek people cannot bind the rest of Europe's citizens. Nation state democracy is incompatible with democracy at the European level. What is needed is democracy by, for and through all of Europe’s citizens. Europe’s common public goods belong to all Europeans. Citizens are the sovereign, not states, and they have a common interest in controlling their government.

This is the kind of talk about democracy we should be hearing from our political leaders, not the agonising about how little national sovereignty to pool and with how minimal democratic concessions to EU citizens.

Hellenic inheritance

What are the Greeks up to, wondered Democracy may be a Greek invention, but so is drama, but they have no right to plunge 500 million Europeans into chaos (another Greek word). Papandreou announced the referendum in order to save his own hide, without consulting his partners who have expended political capital to help. - On the side, presents the idea that the European Economic Area (EEA) could be a solution for Turkey, which is experiencing difficulties in its negotiations for full EU membership (in Norwegian).

Especially here in Ultima Thule, we are indebted to those who laid the foundations of European civilisation in classical antiquity, so the Norwegian blog conveniently draws our attention to our cultural heritage.

However, Athens and Rome need to move with the times in terms of good government and competitiveness.

Trust capital

Trust is the most valuable asset between European partners. Whatever the conspiration theorists say. Thomas Mayer argues that Papandreou has lost face and must go. He agreed to the rescue package without evoking a referendum, then turned his coat and blew his credibility (in German).

Right, raising new hurdles after the summit agreement was a deal breaker.

Strings attached

Where a sovereign state has lost the ability to service its debt and requires outside help, it always comes with strings attached. Susan Fuchs wonders if a Greek referendum is helpful, and presents arguments both pro and contra.

When 17 or 27 governments need to agree unanimously, the risk of suboptimal outcomes and horse-trading increase exponentially in comparison with effective and democratic structures, but a surprise announcement of a referendum to keep Pasok in power went over the top.

European public sphere

Gerry Feehily looks at European press reactions to PM Papandreou's referendum and the euro crisis.

Few questions (outside soccer) have ignited pan-European discussions as much as the latest twists and turns in the eurozone crisis.


Our greatest thank you note to the Greeks is to turn their invention – democracy – into a living reality at European level.

Ralf Grahn

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