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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Greece and the EU Referendum: Do We Stay or Do We Go?

EU Referendum
Do we stay or do we go?


The Greek elections on May 6, 2012, resulted in a non-election of any one particular party and new elections will be held in Greece on June 17, 2012.

Shortly after the elections, and with the entire world discussing the result of the Greek elections, the rising star of Alexis Tsipras, and the possibility of the left coalition SYRIZA coming to power, the ambiguous messages that the various party constituents were  sending out sent people scuttling to their banks to withdraw what few euros had been left in the banking system. 

According to the report/letter filed by outgoing PM Papademos, 700 million euros had been removed from the banking system just in the few days following the election, understandable perhaps but another nail the coffin of the confidence people had in any new government to handle the financial affairs of the country.

The May 6 vote and the rise in the vote to SYRIZA, and Independent Greeks along with the rise in popularity of the Neo Nazi party Chryssi Avgi was nothing more than a protest vote.  It wasn't so much that people were voting FOR these parties, it was more that they were voting AGAINST the two major players - PASOK and Nea Dimokratia - the two parties perceived to be the main perpetrators of the economic tragedy which had befallen Greece in the last few years, and the unprecedented austerity measures imposed on the people as a result.

The percentages gained by SYRIZA, Independent Greeks and Chryssi Avgi surprised the parties themselves, and sent the PASOK and ND leaders Venizelos and Samaras into a cooperation frenzy, which had it happened 3 years ago, may well have saved the economy. 

In the aftermath of the election there was much discussion about Greece's future in the Eurozone and the European Union, with as many conflicting messages coming out of Europe as there were coming out of Greece, with the various EU officials alternating between ear-pulling, cajoling and blackmailing of Greece, the 'naughty child' of Europe, every other day, and the press both inside and outside Greece scaremongering, to say the least.

Friday's 'announcement' that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had asked President Papoulias to have a referendum on whether Greece should stay in the Eurozone/EU or not, the subsequent denials, and thread of denials/undenials was unbelievable. The Spiegel insisted it had happened, but the Chancellor's office is still denying it! 

Hypocritical, considering that this same Chancellor, along with the rest of the EU leaders had lambasted the PM of the time George Papandreou for daring to suggest such a thing on the 26th of October 2011 and was the beginning of the end for him as Prime Minister, even though some labelled it as a brilliant move!

If they were 'smart', they would have called his bluff, despite the crazy timing (which led many in Greece to make a joke of the whole thing at the time - saying that somebody had reversed the order when they gave GAP the instruction sheet**) and let a referendum go ahead... who better than the people to decide their fate?

It might have meant a Grexit, but who's to say that the Greek people would vote for an exit, when, even now, the latest polls say that over 80% of the people want to STAY in the Eurozone? The only reason that SYRIZA and Alexis Tsipras hold appeal for some Greek voters is because he reiterates the need to rewrite any Memorandum of Agreement to bring it to more workable levels. Most of the Greek people know that there need to be major reforms, but in order for those reforms to work, the people have to be on their feet...not down and out, and the economy still breathing not on life support. What is happening is unbelievable, in a country where homeless and soup kitchens were virtually unknown words, suddenly even people who had been relatively well off are in that unenviable position, and more and more people are nouveau poor, nouveau unemployed.

Finally, the spectre of a SYRIZA win has got Europe talking about relaxing some of the repayment conditions, Eurobonds, actual fiscal union and everyone is talking about a Greek exit from the Euro, something that no one seems to want, either inside Greece or out, so why is it being spoken about? Bloomberg has even published a scenario for the exit...

We decided to put it to the people and put a quick poll in our sidebar just after the May 6 Greek elections - wonder if Ms Merkel has been following our blog too... :)

so....

What do YOU think?


What should Greece do?


Please go to our sidebar and vote, then share with your friends, so they can vote too!



**In the meantime, here's the joke we were talking about above: 


Ο Γιωργος είναι καλός πρωθυπουργός αλλά σε REWIND!!..
σκέψου τα όλα με αυτή τη σειρά: 
αρχικά μας ζητάει δημοψήφισμα, 
έπειτα κουρεύει το χρέος κατά 50%, 
τέλος παίρνει και 110 δις από το ΔΝΤ και 
μετά ανακοινώνει πως "Λεφτά υπάρχουν!" ... 
ποιος του έδωσε ανάποδα το ντοσιέ ??!!!!!!!

GAP is a good PM but in REWIND! 
Think about it all, in this order: 
Firstly he asks for a referendum, 
then he gets a 50% 'haircut', 
finally he gets 110 billion from the IMF and 
then he announces 'The funds exist - LEFTA YPARHOYN'... 
who the hell gave him the file upside down?!!!

The results on 16 June 2012 - the day our Poll closed, one day before the Greek elections, which effectively confirmed that the majority of Greeks want to stay in the Eurozone ...

Greece and Europe: If there was a referendum tomorrow in Greece how would you vote?

Stay in the EU, Stay in the Eurozone
  73 (51%)
Stay in the EU, Leave the Eurozone
  39 (27%)
Leave the EU, Leave the Eurozone
  26 (18%)
Don't know/Undecided
  5 (3%)

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