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Sunday, 20 May 2012

Play it again, but this time the right way! A global call from Camp David to the Greeks

It started as a European crisis, now it’s turning into a global one. During the G8-Summit in Camp David, the global leaders agreed that the Greek people have to vote the right way this time. The results of the previous elections were considered a product of the so called “enraged citizens” (German: “Wutbürger”). Now, the Greeks have to be aware of the global impacts of their angry vote.

Our western leaders, in their infinite “wisdom”, are not tired to articulate recommendations how the Greeks shall vote on the new elections scheduled for the 17th June, but disguising them rather shabby. Specifically by German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle and finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble although the latter one claimed not to intent in intervening in the course of the Greek elections.

A few days earlier, chancellor Merkel has offered a referendum option to Greek President Papoulias on the Euro, a matter that was in fact proposed by the former Prime Minister Papandreou but heavily rejected by the EU leaders Merkel and Sarkozy half a year ago. The Greeks are sick of foreign intervention in their domestic affairs, especially since German and French imposed austerity to Greece has – as they claim – dragged the country into a deeper crisis with severe social consequences.

On the other hand, the more the discussion on the possible consequences of a withdrawal from the Euro-Zone goes on in European and in Greek public, the more the Greek people becomes aware of the impact of such a potential return to the Drachma. As more and more people tend to pull their financial assets out of the banks and out of Greece, they fear a massive loss of their remaining savings. About 80% of the Greek population rejects the idea of a return to the Drachma. Apparently aware of the personal consequences of a drop-out of the Euro-Zone for the own economic situation, fear now becomes a rather strong instrument.

For the global leaders at the G8-Summit agree on one thing: Greece will stay in the Euro-Zone as long as it fulfils its obligations to the austerity regime. This is the common statement of Chancellor Merkel, of the new French President Hollande, and of US President Obama. However, they all have to be aware of the fact that pure austerity is insufficient for a sustainable economic growth. As possible mechanisms, a decrease of interest rates for debts and a temporary delay of debt payments would imply two chances: a chance for Greek economy to recover, and a psychological effect for the Greek people for more hope.

It is a battle of two main emotions: it is a battle of anger vs. fear. Anger did prevail in the first place, when the radicals have significantly gained at the previous elections, but it did cause in fact more damage to the crisis. Now, overall fear is the prevailing emotion; not only in Greece, but also on a global scale.

The question remains: how will the now “terrified citizen” vote? There is a chance for a more sensible vote, more reasonable, and more sustainable. In the end, fear is a healthier emotion than anger, and the G8 microcosm in Camp David knows how to communicate fear to Athens, showing who is actually in charge of the Euro crisis.

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