The recent Greek referendum has provided ample space for debate and discussion in the past few weeks, but very little press has been devoted to analyzing the greater ramifications that these events are having in shaping the future of the European Union. The Greek referendum, and the incapability of the Syriza party to adhere to its democratic mandate, have shaken the union to its core more than most would like to admit. In fact, the initial signs of inevitable disintegration are becoming obvious.
The insistence that Greece repay its debt in full by Germany and other financially stable EU powers have weakened confidence in the Union. Many European citizens consider the latest developments as a humiliation to Greece. The Italian and Spanish citizens fear that they may be next, but even more economically stable members are having their doubts. Since Greece accepted the conditions of the newest agreements, the citizens of numerous EU countries have stepped up their bids to exit the union: Austria has called a sort of consultative referendum not only to exit the Eurozone, but the European Union as a whole. Slovakia is considering a similar measure. In Italy the Five Star movement has stepped up its criticisms of European financial bureaucracy, and is expected to ramp up its own No-Euro campaign. The Podemos movement in Spain is aiming for a return to greater local autonomy and the creation of local currencies. In England, the recent electoral success of UKIP also signals a dissatisfaction with the European Union.
The reasons for such sentiments are many. When the Euro was announced, we were made to believe that it would usher us into prosperity and diminish the inequalities between member states. We were told that nations would act in solidarity towards one another when needed, and would foster a sense of unity whilst maintaining national sovereignty. In essence, it proposed a confederation of independent states based on the principles of humanism.
The reality is that Europe's development was never intended to reach such lofty goals, nor has managed to achieve any of them. In reality, inequalities have only deepened (not only between but also within nations), and citizens of wealthier nations are now resenting having to pay for what are portrayed as the "weaker" states. Northern countries have blamed the "lazy" Southerners for not being sufficiently productive. The Southern nations resent the continuous rapacious attitude of their northern neighbours that do not see the bailouts and financial help as an act of solidarity, but an act driven by a feeling of superiority and a wish to appropriate their national resources and finances.
The situation is worse and more complex that the popular sentiments would tend to reflect. The Euro Crisis has effectively allowed for a mass sell-off and privatization of public assets which has further reduced state income; it has transferred the financial sovereignty of the individual states into institutions controlled by the stronger ones, and has effectively created client states within the Union; it has destroyed welfare provisions which ensured the ability to survive to tens of millions of precarious workers, students, and pensioners. To achieve all this it has engaged in massive and violent repression of dissent to maintain the population docile, pacified, and subdued. This is not the Europe we imagined, and if this is the only Europe we can get, we hope that it soon be confined in the dustbins of history. #News