An even higher dose

17 July 2015

An even higher dose

No. That’s what the Greeks said in their referendum two weeks ago. No to still more inhuman austerity from Brussels. No to European anti-social politics. And no to the denial of national democracy.

And what did the Greeks get? Still more inhuman austerity, still more antisocial European politics and even less influence.

The last few weeks have demonstrated just what the European Union stands for today. Countries stand entirely at odds with each other. The European Union was established to further peace and security, but thanks to the europhiles, who want to rapidly transform it into a political union, tensions between member states are on the increase.

The European leaders, with Dutch Finance Minister and Eurogroup chair Jeroen Dijsselbloem to the fore, has opted to continue to impose injunctions, deep austerity and privatisations, despite the fact that previous spending cuts forced on the Greeks have backfired. The Greek economy has become worse than ever, numerous firms have gone bust, purchasing power has declined precipitously and increasing numbers of people are living in poverty. The wrong medicine is being extended. And now the Greeks are getting an even bigger dose.

On Thursday I heard Dijsselbloem give a fiery speech about the sale of ports and airports in Greece. This is a social democrat who cannot see the value and importance of major infrastructure being in public hands, but advocates the marketisation of essential parts of that infrastructure. Dutch Prime minister Mark Rutte’s proud smile in response spoke volumes.

To arrive at a social solution for Greece, we must first of all recognise what the problem is. In the first place it is the fault of the policies of previous Greek governments, of corruption and the failure of many to pay taxes. But above and beyond those things stand the problems which the euro brought with it. A single currency for diverse countries with diverse economies is creating enormous inequality. This will always continue to cause problems. Instead of there being some understanding of this, the Greek population is now being sacrificed on the altar of Europe. This is the EU at its worst.

What the Greeks need now is space. Not a suffocating agreement, but space to get the economy back on its feet and crank up purchasing power. This can be achieved by making the richest Greeks pay their fair share of taxes and by intelligent investments. And when you consider that the banks were not amongst the least culpable when it came to causing the present crisis, then the bill for it ought to be sent to them, too.

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