OPINION

Expectations vs reality

The vision of a united Europe has lost the enticing luster it had until recently, as the new way of thinking in the bloc is all about discipline, meaning you either obey the rules or get kicked out.

Greek politicians, champions of the ?European ideal? in its more luxurious version, had hoped that the most recent meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy would result in support for the Eurobond scenario in order to stabilize and save the eurozone.

Their hopes were dashed even though the outcome was predetermined. Issuing a Eurobond under the present circumstances would mean that the six countries in the euro area with the top credit rating of AAA would ensure low rates on loans for countries facing financial problems. In other words, the rich countries would offer guarantees for the success of austerity programs in the problematic members of the eurozone. The result, of course, would be that they would become poorer for it too.

The Franco-German meeting of heads of state was, despite what was said, a success and many important decisions were made in regard to the euro. The meeting did not take place under conditions of panic, which would have led to it concluding with risky propositions on how to save the eurozone. And it was just this that vexed the Greek political leadership, which ought to finally realize that over the period of time which has elapsed since the start of the crisis, the healthy core of the eurozone has been working on ways to protect itself from the possible collapse of the troubled member states. Of course they are also making every possible effort to save the countries that are no longer able to borrow from the markets at a reasonable rate, but not when that means mortgaging the stability of financially robust states.

Given the new developments, Greece has two alternative options.

The first is staying in the eurozone after devaluing the euro, which would mean a reduction in personal and national wealth to a level that no one dares admit and obviously exceeds 50 percent.

The second option concerns consulting with the European Union for an orderly return to the drachma, so that through devaluation, inflation and other such techniques, the country can become more competitive and its economy can recover, with the goal of finally re-entering the eurozone.

In either case, salvation without first experiencing total destruction is a futile intellectual exercise that should end together with the summer holidays.