Leading article: The euro survives for another day

Share
Related Topics

It is as well that opposition MPs in the Greek parliament listened to the last-minute pleas from the country's prime minister, George Papandreou – and from the new head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde – yesterday and voted to accept the austerity package that is the pre-condition for the EU and IMF bailout of the Greek economy. But the trouble is far from over yet.

Today comes another crucial vote in which the parliament must now decide how to implement the required £25bn cuts. And if that is passed, an even bigger question remains: will the increasingly rebellious Greek public comply with the instruction to pay the price for economic crimes they did not commit?

It is easy to talk of the madness of crowds here. Certainly, however justified the indignation of ordinary people may be, the prospect of Greece leaving what angry street demonstrators may see as an unsuitable currency union, and jettisoning unserviceable debts, has grave implications for the rest of the European Union. If Greece were to default on its debts – as a consequence of widespread civil disobedience in this birthplace of democracy – it would almost certainly be driven from the eurozone. The bond markets would then inevitably turn their attentions to the next weakest link, Spain, as the credibility of the euro crumbled and contagion – as the markets like to call it – spread.

But where the ordinary people of Greece are right to be concerned is over the apparently unchallenged assumption that swift and severe austerity is the answer. They may well look to Ireland, which swallowed the same IMF prescription. Yet after four austerity budgets in just two years, Ireland has entered its fourth year of negative growth. Last year's round of cuts shrank the Greek economy by 5.5 per cent. And that has seemingly served only to limit the country's ability to earn its way out of trouble.

Commentators have been much given to deploying metaphors about Greek tragedy. But tragedy has an inevitable outcome, and it is still far from clear how this Greek saga will conclude.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Support Engineer

£20000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Support Engi...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Bruce Jenner was interviewed by Diane Sawyer  

Bruce Jenner interview: We think being transgender is a rare thing. And that’s part of the problem

Grace Dent
 

Lily-Rose Depp is not 'all grown up' - she is a 15 year old girl who should not be modelling for an adult fashion magazine

Harriet Williamson
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence