Greek crisis gives rise to new eurosceptics

Greek crisis gives rise to new eurosceptics

London, July 20, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Thanasis Gavos

Political commentators, financial analysts and newspapers in the UK, regardless of ideological orientation, have been blasting the eurozone for the way it has been handling the Greek debt crisis.

The criticism has been a constant theme in reports and analyses, with the main argument being that national interests have trumped the common interest of the monetary union in not accepting either a definite haircut of the immense Greek debt or an acknowledgement that in such a union large regular capital flows will be needed from the wealthy core to the weaker periphery.

But ever since this crisis reached its climax following the strained negotiations between the Greek government of Alexis Tsipras and its partners, this criticism has escalated even further, taking the shape of unprecedented accusations against Germany.

“Merkel’s ultimatum mark the beginning of the end of the EU”, “Poisoned Europe”, “Germany wastes the political capital of the last half century” are some indicative headlines from newspapers representing views from across the political spectrum.

Through Merkel’s and Schauble’s Germany, the British are disputing the principles on which this united Europe works. The British eurosceptic instinct does not need any special encouragement to be expressed, of course, and it was no surprise that the first politician that has been making his views known every step of the way in the Greek-European negotiations is Nigel Farage.

But what is particularly striking in this instance are the voices of left-wing commentators and politicians, traditionally keener for the UK to be an active member of the EU, that adopt a distinctly eurosceptic tone, even call for an exit of Britain and the Left from Europe – Owen Jones, a leading left-wing commentator, even coining the term ‘Lexit’.

Caroline Lucas of the Green Party was equally critical of what the British consider a lack of solidarity and questionable democratic credentials of the way Europe has behaved in the case of Greece, but vowed to try to change the EU from within, promoting a progressive agenda.

This lack of solidarity and democracy in the EU has been a growing lament of the progressives in many European countries, not excluding Germany, in what appears to be another front in Europe’s battle to keep its key projects alive and convincing.

All this is happening at a time when the British people are preparing for a referendum on their membership of the EU. The Greek saga doesn’t do the Europhiles any favours, especially since for the conservatives among the eurosceptics the obligation of the UK government to participate in the Greek bailout via EFSM has been condemned as an outrage.