by Yanis Varoufakis originally published at http://yanisvaroufakis.eu 2NOV
Last week, the European Union Council agreed on a set of policies for tackling the euro crisis. It was hoped that the new agreement (hereafter referred to as the October Agreement) would be a decisive step toward resolving a slow burning crisis that threatened to derail the euro, plunge the EU itself into a process of explicit disintegration and, consequently, drag into a new recession the global economy.
Readers of these pages will know that I have taken the view that the October Agreement was made of the wrong stuff (click here, here and here). Others (including President Obama) have praised Europe for moving in the right direction, reserving their doubts and criticism for Europe’s pace along this, ‘righteous’, path. I beg to differ. The October Agreement was catastrophically bad in terms of the direction that it is taking Europe, not just due to its anaemic pace. (In my next posting I plan to sum up all the reasons for which the October Agreement is even worse for Europe than it is for Greece.) If I am right, it was the duty of our political leaders to say NO to it in Brussels last week. Each one of them, Mr Papandreou included, had the opportunity to withhold their signature then, thus causing the EU leadership to keep brainstorming until a decent, workable solution was found; one that would genuinely resolve the euro’s systemic crisis. Read the rest of this entry »
by Costas Douzinas*
The unexpected announcement by Greek PM Papandreou yesterday that he is to call a referendum and ask people to vote about the October 24 agreement is the opening salvo in the endgame of the Greek tragedy. Is this extraordinary gambit a genuine request for a popular mandate or a desperate bluff of a gambler down on his chips? In one obvious way, involving the people in one of the most important decisions of Greek history sounds positive. But as constitutional lawyers and political theorists have explained the use of referenda is not necessarily democratic. Unlike referenda called by a popular initiative, like the recent Italian which reversed the privatisation of water, referenda have been used often to bolster failing governments rather than to give an authentic choice to the people. The formulation of the question by the government according to its priorities, the question’s yes or no character, its lack of nuance and gradation means that on most occasions government referenda are means of blackmailing the people or of forcing an already taken decision. Read the rest of this entry »
By Maria Petrakis and James Hertling - Jun 6, 2011 2:23 AM PT Bloomberg.com.
George Papandreou is the last man standing among the euro-area leaders who needed a handout after Jose Socrates’s defeat in Portuguese elections yesterday.
For Papandreou and the investors and taxpayers who will share the cost of a beefed-up bailout for Greece, questions are increasing about whether he will complete a term that runs until 2013 and enact the budget reductions and asset sales that his benefactors demand.
The Greek premier, who has won assurances that international lenders will make the next payment of last year’s 110 billion-euro ($161 billion) rescue, will aim to quell growing dissent this week within his Socialist party — known as Pasok — over deeper austerity measures as voters’ patience wears thin and public protests mount.
“The coming week may well test the seams of Pasok in parliament and could prove a challenge too much for Papandreou,” said Jens Bastian, a visiting economist at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University inEngland. “It is a make or break situation for his leadership of the party and the government.” Read the rest of this entry »