Papandreou Wins: The Crisis Of Democracy In the EU

by George_East on November 4, 2011

So G-Pap won his voted of confidence 153-144 and lives to fight another day, perhaps only one day given the rumours flying around that tomorrow will see a coalition government of national unity being formed under the Finance Minister, Evangelos Venizelos.  Papandreou in a dignified and effective speech to the Greek Parliament said that he would be seeing the Greek President tomorrow.

But the events of the last few days have raised some serious questions about the commitment to democracy in the EU.   There has been a distinct impression that the last thing the Euro elites who are forcing vast swathes of the citizens across Europe into penury with no end in sight to self-defeating austerity, will do pretty much everything they can to prevent the dirty peasants having a say.

In 2009 when the Greeks voted George Papandreou’s PASOK party into power, none of the current austerity measures were on the cards.  The approach adopted by his government since May 2010 when the EU agreed its first bail out package has been externally enforced austerity package after enforced austerity.  The irony is that the debt crisis in Greece was sparked by Papandreou’s government revealing that the previous government under the centre right NDP had been cooking the books (with the assistance of our friends at Goldman Sachs), resulting in the official figures on the deficit being less than half of the true figures.

It is for this reason that the brief day or so when it looked like the  latest bail out package for Greece, which has finally recognised the inevitable: that Greece is not able to pay its debts,  was to be put to a referendum, it seemed that for once the people would have their say.   Only Iceland so far has put such matters to its citizens – it did so twice, the vote was ‘no’ twice.     A referendum would have allowed either democratic legitimacy to attach to a package of austerity measures or the Greek population to say no in the knowledge that the consequence of that decision was almost certainly an exit from the Euro.  The point it is would be their choice.

The horrified reaction to this decision from European elites, journalists and even other politicians in Greece (his own finance minister disavowed it, the leader of the opposition called Papandreou a ‘dangerous mad man’) showed a worrying distaste for democracy.  It was of course scrapped almost as quickly as it was announced.

This feeling has been underlined by the fact that Papandreou was summoned to the G20 in Cannes by Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel to have a very public bollocking, with clear indications coming from the summit that they wanted to see another Prime Minister in Greece.

Further Newsnight reported tonight that Angeal Merkel has telephoned the Italian President to suggest that Italy needs a new government.   Now, I am no fan of Silvio Bunga Bunga Berlusconi and would gladly see the back of him, but this is a matter for Italian voters not for the German Chancellor.

This anti-democratic trend over the last week or so shows an utterly ahistorical outlook for a Europe that had dictatorships in its Eastern members only just over two decades ago and dictatorships in its southern members only 40 years ago.   Governments and decisions of governments require democratic legitimacy.  Things can get dangerous if this does not happen.

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: