6 July 2015

‎Will the EU Establishment show a little humility after Greek No vote?


It looks like a clear “no” from the Greek voters, although as I write not all the votes have been counted.

What is most striking is the grumpy reaction – so far – of the Europhiles. The Greek people have spoken and it seems to have infuriated fans of the Euro who are taking a “hell mend them” attitude to Greece. So much for European solidarity.

“Time to let Greece go,” declared the head of the pro-EU campaign in the UK, Roland Rudd, when the polls showed it going against the European Establishment. Fine, but time to let Greece go where exactly? Geographically it cannot go anywhere. It is a great if stricken European country. It might, if the Eurozone continues to mishandle what should have been a containable crisis, ‎go diplomatically and militarily in a Moscow direction, of course.

That being the case one might expect Eurozone leaders and technocrats to show a little humility and compassion. Yet what is extraordinary is that even after everything that has happened with this damned project – the political deal between Kohl and Mitterand which launched the single currency, the ridiculous admission of Greece, the daft failure to enforce the rules, spendthrift policies by successive Greek governments, the stitch-up of a bailout that rescued German and French banks who had lent Greece too much money, and the years of botched negotiations and bullying – the pro-Euro forces still do not concede the slightest error. Now, they seem determined to lash out and blame everyone else, including those of us who warned all those years ago that the Euro was a dangerous idea.

But surely if Angela Merkel and the Eurocrats are serious about keeping their project going they should, tonight, announce that they are listening. Emergency lending should continue to Greek banks, and there should be cooperation while leaders calmly try to find a way forward against a backdrop of market turmoil. What is the point, otherwise, of all that high-flown rhetoric about solidarity if the EU supporters turn their backs on the Greeks in their time of need? Some decisive and understanding leadership is needed, but there is no sign of it – yet.

Iain Martin is Editor of CapX