A young European voice on Grexit: too high a bill and too big a deal!

Written by Camilla Crovella, member of the Eustory Alumni Network and Spotlight Europe

Camilla Crovella is a member of the Eustory Alumni Network and member of Spotlight Europe

Camilla Crovella is a member of the Eustory Alumni Network and member of Spotlight Europe

The European reality has always been crossed by threats of division and secessionisms due to its cultural and political diversity which constitutes both its weak point but also the basis for building its strength.

One of these aspects, which has remained a latent possibility in the last years, is now becoming more concrete; it has been nicknamed as Grexit, the hypothetical Greek withdrawal from the Eurozone.

In February, the new Tsipras government reached an agreement with the Eurozone creditor countries, including a package of immediate reforms and an extension of four months of the financial assistance program. Even though Europe could feel relieved at that moment, the compromise calls for tough negotiations on a new financial assistance program to be introduced by the end of June.

In any negotiation the fundamental element that influences the behavior of the players and then the final result, as Jean Pisani-Ferri, French economist, public policy expert and French government Commissioner General for Policy Planning recently observed, is the cost that the impossibility to find a further agreement would bring to the protagonists themselves.

To understand more deeply the phenomenon, it is important to focus on two key points: The actual legal provisions it could base its ruts on and the economic consequences of its realization.

Concerning the first aspect, under the Treaty on European Union, the fundamental document of institutional regulation of the EU, it is written that ”Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements” (Art. 50), but no provision appears to establish either the opposite process, an exclusion carried out by all the components against one Member State, or the revocability of the Euro – membership.

André Sapir, think tank Bruegel’s Senior Fellow, Professor of Economics at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and former economic adviser to the president of the European Commission, confirmed this. In an interview that recently appeared in several European daily newspapers, such as the Italian Il Sole 24 Ore, he affirmed that Grexit is just an exercise of «Phanta-politics». He also underlined that the other Member States would not accept to lose a Mediterranean politically and economically strategic point, such as Greece.

But what would be the bill generated by a possible Greek withdrawal from the Eurozone, in economic terms?

Since the question started to become more serious (2012), two different theories have been developed on the topic. The first one, known as the domino theory, states that a possible Greek withdrawal would lead markets to wonder which country could leave the Eurozone next. The fate of the other countries would then be questioned, similarly to what happened during the sovereign debt crisis in Europe in 2010-2012. The consequence could be an implosion of the Eurozone.

Instead, according to the other vision, the theory of ballast, the Eurozone would actually be strengthened by Grexit. The monetary union would finally manage to erase a constant problem. Additionally, a decision to let Greece leave the Eurozone, or push it to do so, would increase the credibility of its rules.

In 2012, the former one seemed sufficiently realistic to push the creditor countries to put the option of a Greek exclusion aside. The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, decided to officially visit Athens where she expressed her “hope and desire” that Greece would keep up being a Member.

Nowadays though, the situation is quite different. The rating agency Fitch has recently declared (6th March) that, although Grexit is still a concrete risk, Eurozone is now immune to risks contagion.

”The Eurozone has developed mechanisms to alleviate the risk of contagion and concerns about the solvency of other Member States are less evident than what they were like in 2012. A domino effect from Grexit is therefore unlikely to happen”, remarked Fitch.

Indeed, adds the agency, the market stress has considerably decreased. The financial support programs no longer support Ireland and Portugal; the Eurozone financial system has been strengthened by the decision to move towards a banking union.

Despite these reassurances, as Jean Pisani-Ferri wrote, it cannot be stated yet that a Greek withdrawal would not bring any damage and this is mainly due to two reasons.

First of all, it would contradict the tacit assumption that participation in the Eurozone is irrevocable. This would create a precedent in European history and, if the climate began to be a bit tense again, there would be no certainty that another Member State would not follow this path.

Secondly, a possible withdrawal of Athens would force the European policymakers to formalize the rules of quitting, so far unwritten and undefined. This would naturally turn the risk of breach not only more acceptable, but also more concrete.

This does not mean, Pisani-Ferri added, that the other Member States should play any possible card or pay any possible price to keep Greece as a Member of the Union. But, on the other hand, the idea of a peaceful and effectless withdrawal of the country from the Eurozone is an illusion.

From the perspective of young generations it does not appear as hopeful future scenery, to know that the Greek tool would in any case pass on our shoulders too, once stepped in and established as agents in the labor markets. Despite this, it is crucial for a young European to learn how to think in a wider perspective; the European project is not a cup of tea to be set into reality, but in its complexity resides its strength too. Losing any part of this project would mean to damage it somehow. A human body still works without a hand but less effectively.

It is important that each young EU citizen understands this key aspect and accepts some small personal sacrifices in order for the whole machine to work better. There is a negative effectless way neither in losing a hand nor in losing the component of a Union.

About the author

Camilla (21) is a member of the Eustory Alumni Network and writes articles for online magazines. She studies Law at the University of Turin.

Join the Hive!

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Siemens-Alstom merger: Will the EC succumb to Franco-German pressures for the sake of May’s EU Elections?

3 charts that show how global carbon emissions hit a record high in 2018

‘Exercise restraint’ Guterres urges Sri Lankans, as political crisis deepens

Top UN official urges Russia and Ukraine to step away from further confrontation at sea

Ebola outbreak in DR Congo conflict zone ‘remains dangerous and unpredictable’ – UN chiefs

Here are five ways we can make mental healthcare better

Humanitarian aid: EU steps up support in Nigeria for conflict victims

Stepped-up efforts needed to combat pneumonia; save nearly nine million children’s lives

European Parliament approves more transparency and efficiency in its internal rules

How much more social deterioration can the EU people endure?

Conflict diamonds and climate change: Cooperate, don’t compete over natural resources urges Guterres

Eurozone needs more than some decimals of growth

Commission criticised member states on blocking financial transaction tax

A new arrangement between Eurozone’s haves and have-nots

Mergers: Commission fines Canon €28 million for partially implementing its acquisition of Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation before notification and merger control approval

What does the future of energy look like, how do we get there, and who will benefit?

In Afghanistan, attacks against schools have tripled in one year

Migrant workers sent more money to India than any other country last year

Main results of EU-Japan summit: Tokyo, 17/07/2018

Donald Tusk presents EU summit conclusions for last time

Deaths from far-right terrorism have more than tripled in the West

A Sting Exclusive: “Technology for all, development for all: the role of ITU”, written by the Secretary General of the United Nations Agency

We need to protect 30% of the planet by 2030. This is how we can do it

European Agenda on Migration: Still fragile situation gives no cause for complacency

NHS: A great healthcare system but how accessible is it to migrants?

Car rentals: EU action leads to clearer and more transparent pricing

There is a mental health crisis in entrepreneurship. Here’s how to tackle it

Matthias in Canada

How robotics can help humanitarians bridge the digital divide

We lack a global framework for saving our environment. Here’s how we change that

JADE at European Business Summit 2015

Here’s how tech can help governments fight corruption

Brexit may finally not really happen; The Brits have second thoughts

The European brain drain and the deteriorating medical workforce

Mobility package: Parliament adopts position on overhaul of road transport rules

How well you age depends on what you think of old age

Security Council condemns ‘heinous and cowardly’ attack in Iran

Global aid needed for healthcare

5 ways companies can support their remote workforce

Tech companies could achieve much more by serving the common good. Here’s 3 steps they should take

Medical deserts in the European Union: the practicalities of universal health coverage

Global Leaders Take The Stage At MWC Shanghai 2019, in association with The European Sting

Boris to end up in jail if he loses the next elections?

Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders ready for talks with UN chief on improved relations

Security Council urges ‘maximum restraint’ around Gulf region as Iran and United States trade diplomatic blows in New York

UK economy in dire straits: leading banks now officially plan to Brexit too

Why vaccines are not just for children

How to Create a Clear Vision For the Future of Healthcare

“Two Pack” approved: Is democracy chased away from Brussels?

Action needed to tackle stalled social mobility

7 amazing ways artificial intelligence is used in healthcare

Electronic cigarettes: is it really a safe alternative to smoking?

Eurozone: Retail sales betray economic frailty

3 ways to nurture collaboration between universities and industry

How much is nature worth? $125 trillion, according to this report

Pride in practice: Equality in access to health services for the LGBT community in a third-world country

Eurozone: The cycle of deficits, debts and austerity revisited

5 things to know about the exploding world of pro gaming

UN, world leaders, condemn Sri Lanka terrorist attacks targeting churches, hotels, which leave more than 200 dead

10 Downing street: Another desperate attempt to unite Britain on Brexit

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s