You know you have reached the level of world power when your flags get burned in the streets. America, step aside – here comes the EU.
Now if only the protesters in Greece could explain what they want to express by burning the EU flag: Do you want to leave the EU? Do you want to stop receiving funds from the EU which prevent the bankruptcy of the Greek state? Do you want to pay back all the funds you got since joining the EU? I am confused.
I may try to give you an answer. They are simply fed up with the EU-imposed austerity that is starving them. Also, it’s quite debatable weather the ‘help’ the country has received from the Troika (EU, IMF, ECB) has in any way really helped the country, or just made the problem worse (and the eventual bankrupt larger) by piling up even more debt that cannot possibly be repaid.
I am aware of these criticism and I think they have some valid points, except that nobody imposes anything. The Greek government which was just recently – in light of the economic situation – elected makes the decisions about Greek policy.
But what are the protesters suggesting to do instead? That’s my big problem with all of these “anti-austerity” protests in Greece and Spain. I don’t see any suggestions for an alternative way.
The alternative (the only sensible one, in my opinion) would be to go the Argentinian way (or Icelandic, more recently) and acknowledge the simple fact that the money can’t be paid back, and default (by the way, a big chunk of the Greek bonds have already taken a 90% loss). Had they done so a couple of years ago it would have been a lot easier: now it’s a much bigger and hotter potato to handle. And it will only get worse, until reality is acknowledged by the politicians, whose only concern appears to be that of saving the big banks that have profited from the bonds trade until it got sour.
I don’t see that happening, though – the politicians doing the wise and plucky thing, I mean. They will carry on with their game of ‘extend and pretend’, and pray that the end of the game isn’t too near.
I fully agree with you on the default option. I think it was and is the best option, a clear cut. Greece can even stay in the Euro zone as its economy is so small that it does not really have a huge impact on the other Euro countries.
If Greece will default or “go the Argentinean way” then it will not be able stay in the EU, otherwise also Portugal, Spain and Italy (and France?) will default.
Because if the Greeeks have the right to not honor their debts then why the Spanish or the Italians will have to do so? Austerity is wide spreading also in the other PIIGS countries (not just in Greece even if in Greece might be stronger) in order to be able to cope with our large debts.
As I was saying a country that defaults cannot stay in the EU: this would mean the END of the European dream (I am not saying that it would mean the end of the world).
So in this current economic situation there is both space for austerity and for burning flags, and if I can try to accept the former, I do not agree to the latter (but it is true that i do not live in Greece and you neither Andreas).
Another issue is try to make sense on what masses do… and I leave this to better philosophers than me….
Zio Alberto, A default is a very messy thing, not a decision that any nation would ever take lightly:a decade since its default, Argentina is still battling lengthy legal rows with its creditors, and is still entangled in related diplomatic troubles (see the ship recently seized in Ghana). I doubt any of the heavily indebted European countries would be eager to do the same. They might rather find appealing a softer option like the ‘voluntary haircut’ that has already taken place among the holders of Greek debt, which in fact provoked such claims in Ireland and elsewhere.
As for staying in the Euro after a default, there aren’t any written rules that say such a country would get the boot, though it looks likely. But the truth is nobody really knows: it still is uncharted territory.
I don’t think those flag-burners are protesting, I think they’re just burning flags made in Greece to force people to buy more, thus boosting the economy in flag-making, match manufacturing, and gasoline sales…..
I think they are just fed up with the mismanagement and corruption, but don’t know who to blame and certainly don’t intend to accept any responsibility.
They are just showing the way that all the west is going – it is too easy to get paid for doing nothing, lots of young people see no point in getting an education – since they see no need to work.
Greece was one of the first since their border allows the influx of ‘economic-refugees’, people who heard you could get paid for being a slob.
The trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples money. (Ms.Thatcher)