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Is democracy working in Europe, more specifically is it working in Greece for example. The country has voted for and anti-austerity party – the Syriza party, who have a mandate to pursue a specific set of economic policies based on reducing austerity measures and promoting growth instead as a means to reducing the country’s huge debts.
However as subsequent events have seen, Syriza has very little opportunity to pursue this particular strategy unless the creditors of Greece give their blessing. The German finance minister was quick to point out in a recent Channel 4 Online documentary covering the results that the new elections changed nothing meaning that it didn’t matter who Greece voted in the elections, the debt has to be repaid and austerity was the main instrument in achieving this. It seems that democratic choice currently means very little in Greece, a cost of the huge debts it has run up. Or does it mean that being a member of the Eurozone means that domestic democracy is ceded to Europe’s leaders and financiers.
This is not something that is specific to Greece of course, there are elections in several other European countries this year perhaps most notably Spain. Here also the radical left are leading the polls headed by the Podemos party, who also are opposed to the strict financial restrictions imposed by Wolfgang Schaulde the German finance minister. The same has happened in other countries who seek to change their economic direction, the new Italian government were also prevented from investing more stimulus in the short term.
Similar situations are occurring all over Europe, with even France desperate to borrow more and inject some stimulus into their economy. Most of these economies could borrow and invest more if Brussels allowed them to. It’s difficult to see how this will play out, it is fairly inconceivable that the same methods will solve all the individual economic woes of the Eurozone countries. What is good for the German economy and the Eurozone in general certainly won’t solve the debt issues of Greece and Spain, but how can they change direction. Even string economic mandates have failed to soften the German governments stance, yet Greece for example will face decades of misery if they continue along this road.
The big issue for outsiders is that the Eurozone seems to strip domestic voters and their elected leaders of the ability to make many economic and political decisions. The Eurozone is supposed to be a collective of democracies, however it’s difficult to see that when the ‘throne’ seems to reside in Brussels and power wielded from Berlin.