Growing euroskepticism, as reflected in recent surveys, is a welcome development for it could finally awake the nation’s political class from the intellectual paralysis to which it appears to have succumbed. This state has resulted in practical problems like the Greek debt and deficit being treated in metaphysical terms by means of one-size-fits-all dogmas.
It was the Socialist government of George Papandreou that conjured up the bogeyman of the so-called “pro-drachma lobby” despite the fact that KKE, Greece’s Communist Party, was the only party arguing in favor of Greece’s exit from the eurozone and the European Union. The mess that is SYRIZA added to the confusion concerning the strategic orientation of this odd collection of left-wing groupings.
That said, Greece’s main problem is the complete breakdown of public administration, the total degeneration of the political system, rampant corruption and the close ties between political parties and vested interests. All these traits are present also in the current administration, as its members had been in the governments that ruled the country after the end of the military dictatorship in the early 1970s.
All the ailments described above render the euro-or-drachma dilemma meaningless. Countries that have opted out of the eurozone – such as Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Switzerland – are, for the time being at least, in a much better shape.
Nevertheless, Greece’s pro-EU powers, as it were, have wasted all of their ingenuity in an embarrassing confrontation with SYRIZA, which likes to indulge in all sorts of political antics (a behavior that is in a way expected of a leftist party which is realizing with fear that is nearing the helm of the country).
As a result, we are watching a debate about the viability of the European project, Germany’s growing assertiveness, the structural shortcomings of the single European currency, and even the destructive consequences of global capitalism.
These may all be worthy of a thorough examination, but they are of little relevance to the country’s fundamental problem, which is purely political in nature. If the political system here embraced the European project, it was because it saw in this a way to perpetuate its grip on power.
Now the same Europeanist parties, plus Democratic Left, are struggling to rescue the higher echelons of the economic and social pyramid that oversaw Greece’s failed European experiment. It’s suicidal, for it feeds euroskepticism and pushes Greek citizens closer to despair.