Spanish and Polish voters are crying out for an imminent European change while US urge now Germany to change route

From left to right: Mr Mariano RAJOY BREY, Spanish Prime Minister; Ms. Federica MOGHERINI, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. European Council for migration in the Mediterranean (Council TVNewsroom, 23/04/2015)

From left to right: Mr Mariano RAJOY BREY, Spanish Prime Minister; Ms. Federica MOGHERINI, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. European Council for migration in the Mediterranean (Council TVNewsroom, 23/04/2015)

The election outcomes in Spain and Poland last week were enough to cause even more uncertainty and turbulences to the already shaken European economy. The European leaders and especially Germany is facing another thorn while they struggle to come to a deal with Greece, which focuses on the austerity policy that is constantly followed by the biggest economy of the Old Continent.

Now Italy takes the lead with regional and municipal elections to be held next Sunday and Mateo Renzi to be very optimistic that his party will prevail against its opponents. However, the Italian Prime Minister, watching the worrying results of the Spanish and Polish elections, underlined that Europe needs a change now.

The G7 Finance Ministers and central bank governors are going convene in Dresden, Germany on these days about the European crisis. Certainly the negotiations of the troika (IMF-ECB-EC) with Greece will naturally be a topic in the agenda in an attempt to avoid a Greek tragedy and a new European financial crisis. The Unites States  is in favor of helping Europe come back to growth and a quick and permanent deal for Greece will highly support it. Particularly the Americans already tries to affect the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European leaders to provide Greece a chance to get out of the crisis asap.

Spain is not Greece

Last Sunday’s elections showed that the Spanish citizens are frustrated by the austerity in their country and generally in Europe. They voted for a change in the political system to bring a new fresh air in the economy and society. Thus, People’s Party (Partido Popular), the party in government, faced the worst result in its history in municipal level last Sunday.

But Podemos is definitely not Syriza. The Spanish left-wing party Podemos, even if it has gained great power in a short time, doesn’t seem to be grow under the same circumstances as its Greek sister-party Syriza did recently. This is situated particularly on the fact that Spain in contrast to Greece is currently undertaking reforms which reduce unemployment and support growth. Besides, Spain is one of the biggest European economies and is growing at 0.9% at the first quarter of 2015 comparted to 2014 and by 2.6% year-on-year.

This situation does not really remind the Greek situation before January 25, when Syriza came to power, and reveals that the national Spanish elections at the end of this year will be rather tough and not as easy as in Greece’s case.

Polish headache

The Polish presidential elections were proclaimed just two days ago by Andrzej Duda; president of Law and Justice. This right-wing party hasn’t won the elections in the last 10 years and is openly regarded to be very conservative and Eurosceptisistic. Furthermore, he is very close to the beliefs of the Catholic Church and his pre-electoral radical promises were to tax the  banks and provide more benefits to families.

If these presidential elections are going to be the forerunner of the national ones next October, then Europe will change dramatically. A more conservative policy by Poland which consists of about 38 million people will cause serious shocks to Europe’s stability. More specifically, Mr Duda is against various EU policies and doesn’t even want euro to be Poland’s currency. During his campaign he had stated that: “We shouldn’t agree with decarbonization which is devastating to Polish energy industry or to hurry with joining eurozone as it will lead to drastic prices increases”.

Italy points the finger

The party of the Italian Prime Minister will be tested next Sunday when the regional and municipal elections will be held. The more optimistic Mateo Renzi is for the victory of his party, the less optimistic is for the future of Europe. The recent results of the Spanish and Polish elections as well as the difficulties that the Greek government is facing to make an agreement with its creditors are making Mr Renzi to be highly pessimistic unless a change is about to be made.

The Vice-President of the European Commission (EC) and also High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy mentioned: “65 years after the Schuman declaration of 9 May 1950, which proposed to create a new form of organisations of states in Europe, the future of the EU could not be abandoned to the simple confrontation between pro-europeans and eurosceptics. The elections’ results in Poland and Spain, albeit very differently, and news from Greece and the UK, tell us that there is a real need of rethinking our being European if we want to save the project of our founding fathers”.

US endorse EU-Greece relations

The US are closely watching the negotiations between Greece and its creditors and are determined to intervene in order to ensure that things will end up positively for both sides. Following last Friday’s phone-call by Alexis Tsipras to the Finance Minister of US, things appear to be changing. Jack Lew contacted the IMF proposing a more mitigated stance towards Greece; thus making things easier due to the upcoming substantial repayments that Greece has to make to the IMF in June.

The US allegedly will try once more to bridge the gap of the relations between Greece and IMF, ECB and EC at the G7 summit of Finance Ministers in Dresden. It is the best chance for an overall discussion just before the next repayment to the IMF; when Greece is running out of  money and time to continue on her own. The motivation of the US at this point is that the global growth is still at stake, which is attributed also to the European crisis.

Will the US be able to “save” Greece from bankruptcy or Mr Schäuble’s stubbornness will prevail?

The next few days are critical in the Greek crisis and will be put down in the history books that the next generations will be reading. The chapter will “European Union”. It remains to see what exactly title the chapter will have: “Collapse” or “Survival”.

Follow Chris on Twitter @CAnyfantis






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