The weekend’s Greek elections have left the country in a state of political confusion with no party being declared the outright winner. The people voted in large numbers choosing to oust the previous pro austerity government and plunging the nation into uncertainty. On Monday the leader of the Conservative New Democracy party Antonis Samaras failed to form a new government after other party leaders chose to defy Austerity.
Jörg Asmussen an executive of the European central bank said; “Greece must know that there is no alternative to the agreed to restructuring arrangement, if it wants to stay a member of the euro zone.” Other German leaders including the chancellor Angela Merkel have expressed their annoyance at the Greeks.
The leader of Greece’s coalition of the radical left (SYRIZA) Alexi Tsipras is charged with trying to form a new government. He said that the austerity agreement signed up to by the previous government was invalid.
“The pro-bailout parties no longer have a majority in parliament to vote in destructive measures for the Greek people,” Tsipras said. “The popular mandate clearly renders the bailout agreement invalid.”
In response Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament and a member of Germany’s centre-left Social Democratic Party, threatened: “The Greek parties should bear in mind that a stable government that holds to agreements is a basic prerequisite for further support from the euro-zone countries.”
The whole disagreement raises the important issue of democracy and whether the people have a say in the future of Europe. Already we have seen technocratic governments forced upon struggling countries.
Mario Monti and the former Greek leader Lucas Papademos were parachuted into Italy and Greece at the behest of the German led ECB. No elections were held to determine the people’s wishes, raising concerns that the entire democratic process was under threat.
Several other incidents have occurred over the past decade since the formation of the single currency.
In 2007 the people of Ireland were asked whether they agreed with the Lisbon treaty, a controversial treaty that ratified more power to the European Union. The referendum ended with defeat for the treaty with 53.4% of voters going against it. This result however was not to the EU’s liking and a year later the vote was held again, this time passing by a narrow margin. The whole debacle caused many democrats to raise an eyebrow in suspicion.
The way in which the EU’s major players act and behave over the coming months will reveal just how far democracy has been lost to the nations of Europe and will show just how much they are willing to sacrifice for their dream of a United States of Europe.