Thursday November 27, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
14o C
8o 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)  
Scraping together the 180 MPs will not be enough
Taking back whats stolen
Beware of the fallen idols
The hard truth
Greece says EU/IMF bailout exit could be delayed for technical reasons
Greece may have to delay by a few days or weeks its planned exit from an EU/IMF bailout by the end of the year, the country's deputy prime minister said on Thursday, citing "technical reason...
Ship with 700 migrants safely towed to Greek coast
Officials say a broken-down smuggling ship carrying 700 men, women and children trying to emigrate to Europe has been safely towed to just off the southern Greek island of Crete. Authorities...
Inside News
Bank of Cyprus posts 76 million euro nine-month profit
Cypriot lender Bank of Cyprus posted a profit of 76 million euros ($95 million) in the first nine months of the year, helped by the disposal of assets in Ukraine, Romania and Serbia. It also...
ILO report warns of prolonged social crisis unless steps are taken in employment
The International Labor Organization this week warned that Greece faces a prolonged social crisis unless steps are taken to improve the "anemic" pace of job creation. In a report titled "Pro...
Inside Business
SOCCER
Atletico drubs Olympiakos 4-0, leaving Reds with slim chances of CL qualification
Atletico Madrid avenged its 3-2 defeat in Piraeus in September with a 4-0 win over Olympiakos on Wednesday, meaning the Greek champion only has mathematical hopes left for a spot in the next...
SOCCER
Atletico eyes last 16 berth against Olympiakos
Greek champion Olympiakos faces a tough task if it is to prevent last season's beaten finalist Atletico Madrid sealing its passage into the last 16 of the Champions League at the Vicente Cal...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Bank of Cyprus posts 76 million euro nine-month profit
2. Greece says EU/IMF bailout exit could be delayed for technical reasons
3. Ship with 700 migrants safely towed to Greek coast
4. ILO report warns of prolonged social crisis unless steps are taken in employment
5. Greek tobacco firm Papastratos planning 25-mln-euro investment
6. Independent Greeks MP to be questioned over bribery claims
more news
Today
This Week
1. Troika talks to continue after failure to wrap up negotiations in Paris
2. Greece scrambles to find food, shelter for 700 migrants on crippled ship
3. Chief suspect in Piraeus bar shooting arrested
4. Greek diplomat dies in fall under Thai train
5. Greek, German, Portuguese, Spanish debt to benefit most from ECB QE - ABN Amro
6. Greece paralyzed by major strike, flights cancelled
Today
This Week
1. Give Greece a chance
2. Biden heads to Istanbul amid tension over Cyprus EEZ violation
3. Scientists expand excavation of ancient Amphipolis
4. Extremism from a bygone era
5. Piraeus nightclub shooting leaves 3 seriously injured
6. Coscos Greek unit adds multinational rail-freight client
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.