Tuesday September 23, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
33o C
20o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Democracy vs the markets

By Alexis Papachelas

The tension that is simmering below the surface between the democracies of Europe and the international financial markets is not likely to end anytime soon and no one can predict its outcome.

The markets speak their own unforgiving language. They are threatening to pull the lending plug on Europe. But without borrowed money, or bonds, it will be nearly impossible for the bloc to maintain the standard of living and the level of welfare and social benefits that have defined the way its societies function since the end of World War II. In fact the markets are pushing the money to the East, where people are more accustomed to lower living standards and democracy functions differently.

The level of change and sacrifice in order to reach the targets that the financial markets are demanding, especially from Southern Europe, is difficult, if not utterly impossible to achieve. No nation is ready to accept a major and widespread change of lifestyle for the worse without having an inevitable violent reaction.

The European elite, centered in Brussels and Berlin, believed that the transition to a more competitive and thrifty Europe would be a process that was politically manageable. This may have been the case for certain Northern European countries that have a good grasp of the concepts of the social contract and show more fortitude in the face of adversity. In the case of Greece, as well as that of Italy, however, reforms and harsh cutbacks have not been so easy to swallow and have not been passed easily. In such countries, austerity awakens the instinct to react against anything that shakes up the status quo and strengthens societys anti-systemic tendencies.

How can we break out of this vicious cycle? It is impossible to tell. The crisis has deepened and broadened the already large cultural and political divides that separate European nations. And now it looks like the financial markets are not at all prepared to tone down their demands and take a step back. The risk of Europe entering a protracted phase of instability and economic hardship is on the horizon as the markets continue to increase the spreads and certain citizens vote for politicians like Italys Beppe Grillo.

The limits and strength of democracy are set to be sorely tested, even though European democracy often seems a shallow institution that is played out behind the scenes of the public stage something neglected by those who champion Silvio Berlusconi today when just yesterday they were presenting him as a paradigm of corruption and entanglement.

ekathimerini.com , Tuesday February 26, 2013 (23:54)  
A painful curse
Europes choice
So near and yet so far
Transfer withdrawal
Greece sees early exit from EU/IMF bailout, PM says
Greece can exit its EU/IMF bailout earlier than expected and can cover its own funding needs next year, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said in Berlin on Tuesday after meeting German Chancell...
Merkel says first signs of success are visible in Greece
German Chancellor Merkel said on Tuesday that the first positive signs of growth were coming out of Greece and the country was heading in the right direction in the implementation of its bai...
Inside News
Troika visit as scheduled, ministry says
Reports of the Greek government requesting the postponement of an upcoming visit to Athens by top troika officials were unfounded, the Greek Finance Ministry announced on Tuesday. Troika off...
Greek yields hit one-month high as Samaras looks to exit bailout
Greek bond yields hit one-month highs on Tuesday ahead of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's visit to its biggest creditor Germany, at which he is expected argue that the country does not need...
Inside Business
SOCCER
PAOK joins Olympiakos on top after win at Agrinio
Olympiakos spent just two nights alone on top of the Super League, as on Monday evening PAOK joined the champions on 10 points through its 1-0 victory at Panetolikos. The Thessaloniki giant ...
SOCCER
Reds beat Veria to claim league lead
Olympiakos thumped hitherto Super League leader Veria 3-0 on Saturday to go alone on top of the table for the first time after four rounds of games. Four days after putting three past Atleti...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Greece sees early exit from EU/IMF bailout, PM says
2. Merkel says first signs of success are visible in Greece
3. Troika visit as scheduled, ministry says
4. Greek yields hit one-month high as Samaras looks to exit bailout
5. Boutaris shortlisted for world mayor prize
6. Construction material costs for new residential buildings decrease
more news
Today
This Week
1. Trolley bus, metro services to be disrupted Tuesday, Wednesday
2. Venizelos meets American Jewish officials in New York
3. German bond gains push 10-Year yield below 1% on stimulus bets
4. Supreme Court postpones decision on Finance Ministry cleaning staff
5. Construction material costs for new residential buildings decrease
6. Boutaris shortlisted for world mayor prize
Today
This Week
1. Greece at bottom of social justice scale among EU28
2. Greece can meet its needs on its own
3. Central Athens traffic restrictions back in force on Monday
4. Record sum of new debts to the state in August
5. Lost in the fog
6. Alexander the Great's tomb not at Amphipolis, says Culture Minister
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.