Sunday, July 5, 2015

After the 'No' Vote, Can Greece Remain in the Euro?

by Andreas Papandreou

Huffington Post

July 4, 2015

I am the grandson, son and brother of three Greek Prime Ministers that have devoted their lives to the ideals of democracy. A central theme in their worldview was that deepening the institutions of democracy, a paramount end in itself, is also the best means to a flourishing and vibrant economy.

Time and again, government after government, we have been promised the freedoms of democracy and the flourishing economy that institutions of democracy brings. And each time we have not wavered from wanting these freedoms and ideals. Each time our governments have failed us. Each government has vigorously promised to fight corruption, clientelism and tax evasion. Each government has promised far-reaching reforms. Many of these reforms were those being proposed by the hated loan agreements. The same reforms that Varoufakis found mostly agreeable, at least 70 percent of these, against the strong anti-reform position of Syriza. We never hated the reforms though we knew many had reason to resist them. We hated the medicine that we mistakenly associated with the reforms: austerity.

We know that our long-term prosperity lies in these reforms and other reforms that derive from being part of the EU. Most of these reforms are the nuts and bolts that at any given time uphold the ideals that we aim for. They may not all be right for us, or right at this time, and this is the debate we need to keep having with our fellow Europeans. This is one of the areas we need to apply our skills of negotiation and persuasion. This is the good fight, but it needs to be held within the moorings of the imperfect democracy that is Europe.


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