February 12, 2015
Not so long ago EU Perspectives posted a much read piece Grexit? Brexit? Don’t Bet on it. If you’re a betting person you may want to call off all bets whilst you still can. Since coming to power Tsipras has recklessly pushed Greece to the very brink. The risk now is that he could be pushed over the precipice by EZ countries fed-up with his belligerence before he has had time to consider his options.
In Grexit? Brexit? Don’t bet on it! it was argued that Tsipras would form a coalition with a moderate party and lessen his radical rhetoric once in power in order to fulfil his two stated objectives – lessen the burden on the poor and keep Greece in the EZ. It was also argued that his focus would be on ending corruption whilst compromising on debt reduction. The Greek economy was doing better than expected at the end of 2014. He had plenty of wiggle room to fudge his radical rhetoric on debt reduction and focus on tackling corruption. Judging by his speeches, his intransigence and his stubbornness, however, it looks like he’s going to self-destruct and blow both of his cherished objectives to oblivion.
The Greek crisis no longer resembles a shoot-out at the O.K. Corall with pistols at sun-set. The new Greek Prime Minister has turned his moment in the spot-light into a trigger-happy event with the bullets from his AK47 missing target, recoiling off the goal posts and slamming straight into the Greek voter.
The EU is not a political union. The EU, as it stands, is first a foremost a Union that serves economic interests – the smooth flow of goods through seamless borders backed by a stable single currency in which investors – both small and great – have confidence. Bow to Tsipras’ demands and the whole edifice upon which the construct rests will come crashing down. If Greece as the irresistible force hits the immovable object there’ll be a sonic boom with some fall-out that may make some wince. Were the EZ to bow to Tsipras’ pressure the whole edifice upon which the euro and the EU rests will come crashing down creating a pyroclastic cloud that could swallow up the whole of the economic structure of the EU. It would devastate the euro and could lead to its break-up. No other EZ country is ready to risk the stability of the euro on some reckless Tsipras inspired adventure.
Everyone talks confidently that Greece can and will remain in the EZ. For this to be so Tsipras is going to have to tone down the rhetoric and begin some serious talks with other EZ countries whose tax-payers are owed rather a lot of money. The worry is that Tsipras, heady on his new-found celebrity status, is not only prepared to talk the talk he is more than happy to walk the walk. Straight off the cliff. How is that going to help Greece’s poor?