If Europe’s institutions remain unanswerable to its citizens, Greece will be the beginning of the end
The challenge facing Europe today goes far wider and deeper than how to handle a small bankrupt country holding only 2% of the EU’s population. No, the bigger question is this: can Europe handle democracy, however awkward and messy and downright truculent it may be? The answer to that will probably decide whether the euro lives on as the currency of 19 nations.
Say what you like about the referendum held in Greece this Sunday, it was democracy at its most raw. Yes, the ballot question was impenetrable, and Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, came close to urging voters to say oxi (no) to a deal he’d pretty much said nai (yes) to just a couple of days earlier. Yet in the face of the country’s political and media establishment warning Greeks to vote yes – echoing every major European leader (and quite a few faceless ones) – and the shock-and-awe tactics of the European Central Bank in pulling the plug on Greek banks, the country still delivered a loud no to austerity, troika-style.
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