“These Romans are crazy”, the “Greek Gauls” will be shouting today in Brussels hoping Caesar backs off

The

The “Greek Gauls” hope that Caesar will finally make an exception today in Brussels for the “mighty” village of Greece. Alexis Tsipras, Prime Minister of Greece, is depicted here as Asterix and Panos Kammenos, part of the Syriza coalition government and President of the Greek party Anel is depicted as Obelix. This is parody artwork published in Panos Kammenos’ twitter account just earlier today (@PanosKammenos)

That every crisis brings to the surface the worst part of yourself is common knowledge. The routine of prosperity or daily struggle conceals your weakness for a reason; to focus on your task and to make ends meet and enjoy afterwards a hedonist’s life with small purchased pleasures. Despite this being the sentence that shortly describes the happy modern life of Europe’s middle and high class today, it is the times of crisis where you really get to know people.

The European problem

The Greek debt crisis all those years which culminates now in 2015 has removed violently all the satin covers of the elegant European dress. Because if you have a good amount of savings in the bank, a good salary, a mortgage and you whisper growth, growth, growth or prosperity, prosperity, prosperity in between business lunches in Brussels, this does not mean that you are able to sustain a political union of 500 million people. As a matter of fact, you would be a terrible fool to believe so.

Europe is the most challenging political project in the world and was nurtured through inequalities and tough times with a common vision to bring different nations together to ensure prosperity and growth. The problem with today’s Europe is that the vision, if there is any at all left today, lies on surfing the big growth/prosperous wave owning a tiny board that can fit only the best and “blondest”. According to an African saying, “if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together”. The lack of political talent that Europe’s elite faces today lies on the fact that they will always stop at the first half of the African popular wisdom.

The Greek drama

The inexperienced Greek government of Alexis Tsipras is very much responsible for two things. First because they engaged into a futile 6 month negotiations with carnivores, betting like poker chips the lives of 11 million people as if they had ever the right to do so. Second because they brought to the surface the longest spike in the heart of Europe as an honourable political project, inequality.

Among the 28 European member states we are not at all the same; long histories, longer cultures, different languages, different looks. While the EU has made incredibly positive progress in alleviating those differences, it has done very little to lessen the enormous economic diversity between the citizen of Belgium and the citizen of Spain. And this can be understandable to a certain extent given the diverse power of the European markets. However, in a union of countries like the European ones you should not let one citizen starve while you are eating your lobster. More so, you should not impose a blind punitive austerity campaign to a nation in order to lend them money just to pay back the money you give them and thus they can breathe and pay the rent for a few more years.

The Guinea pig

Greece is being transformed lately into the guinea pig of Brussels, brutally forcing the Europeans to make contingency plans to face the bankruptcy of a member state. Donald Tusk, the Polish President of the European Council, said it quite right the other day claiming that Europe has to live with it from now on, having bankrupt member states. It certainly has to, but who for the love of God will take the awesome responsibility to avoid a bankruptcy or a Grexit?

Certainly not the President of the European parliament who came out last Sunday, right after the result of the Greek referendum,  with a picturesque lighted castle at the background, saying that he is disappointed about the OXI of the Greek people and bluntly threatening the Greek government to be kicked out of the Eurozone. The German politician who represents and presides the entire edifice of the European democracy, the European Parliament, felt like telling with the background of a majestic lighted castle, probably in Germany, that the Greek people should have voted NAI/YES instead. Although some democratic European parties already investigate the “appropriate” intervention of Martin Schulz to the Greek/European democracy, the German politician did not get it that it is exactly this kind of statements from him and his colleagues in Brussels and Germany that pushed the Greek people to vote OXI/NO last Sunday.

Juncker ain’t get it

Add to that the statement of Jean Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, saying at the European Parliament earlier this morning that he is unable to understand the result of the Greek vote. What is the political message, he was asking at the European Parliament? Mr Juncker, the President of the entire European edifice, should be able to understand two basic things about the OXI vote of 61% of the Greeks last Sunday.

First, that indeed he is right; the question asked was technically invalid and out of the table but the meaning to the Greek people would be the same no matter the question anyway, euro or drachma or whatever it would be. He is also right that the referendum question and timing was nonetheless a political gaffe of the ones we have been used to witness from the inexperienced Tsipras government. Second, that the 61% OXI of the Greek people is a most direct address to himself, Martin Schulz, Angela Merkel, Wolfgang Schaueble, Antonis Samaras together with all the rotten old Greek political system. The address of the Greeks is more than crystal clear and it says OXI/NO to more austerity, to more corruption, to the Brussels or any European elite telling the Greek people how to live or die.

Europeanus Carnivorous

That is the political message of OXI that Mr Juncker was asking for at the Parliament today. The inability to grasp this message from the Greek people just condemns any further negotiations with the EU and justifies why 300 Eurogroups were not enough for the Ministers of Finance with the thick glasses to understand the Greek problem. But the issue is not Mr Juncker here, who has contributed the most positive work to all these long negotiations and the Greeks know that well and appreciate. The problem is how on earth it is possible that tiny countries like Slovakia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, with a fraction of the GDP of the poor Greece and a smaller fraction of the history of Greece in the world and Europe demand the Grexit. This is the sad carnivore sentiment that the Greek crisis has brought to the surface of Europe; its biggest spike and threat.

Those Greeks are crazy

Talk is cheap. In half hour from now another scheduled Eurogroup begins in Brussels and a Euro Summit in the evening. There the new Greek Finance Minister, Euclid Tsakalotos, the successor of the superstar Yanis Varoufakis, “minister of the awesome”, as he was called yesterday by his communications specialist promoting his new book, will present the Greek proposal, which is a copy paste of the latest Juncker proposal accompanied with a signed press release.

Of course Alexis’s left government had not had any time to build from scratch a new proposal so he will come to Brussels with a basic homework hoping to please the teachers. Further, the leftist leader that aspires to change Europe with roses will bring with him a small press release signed by all leaders of the democratic parties in Greece, saying that “we” like austerity but please not too much and also make sure you do something about “our” debt and growth.

It may sound funny but this is the gist of the bullet pointed press release that the leaders of Syriza, Anel, Nea Dimokratia, Pasok and Potami spent 6 hours discussing yesterday around a table presided by the President of the Greek Democracy, Prokopis Pavlopoulos. The Greek “Che” believes that this document, together with the 61% OXI and a copy paste of Juncker’s latest proposal which is not relevant any more, will astonish positively Eurogroup’s Dijssebloem enough to say “Wow”.

It is estimated that a lack of agreement today, as foreseen, will crash any hope for ECB’s ELA to be increased and thus cause the Greek banks to completely melt down in ten days time at the latest. It remains to be seen who will support Greece today at the Euro Summit, who will want its demolition just because they have too cold weather in the winter and who, if any, will take the single one opportunity in the history of the union to bring the strong Political Europe back on the table.

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Comments

  1. joan swift says:

    Juncker expressing puzzlement from the ramparts, echoes the day Democracy died – when the Irish voted No to the Lisbon treaty and were told, ‘Sorry wrong answer’ and were forced to repeat the process and vote yes.

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