Save Europe: Respect Greek democracy and Greece’s place in Europe

We call upon Europe’s leaders to take a clear stand for a democratic and united Europe by respecting the vote of the Greek people in the referendum of July 5th.

An overwhelming majority of Greek voters have decisively rejected the austerity and bailout measure proposed by Greece’s creditors.

This referendum vote is a strong call for a Europe of equality and dignity and a statement against austerity and the rule of financial capital. The coming days will be crucial for the future of the European project and a very fragile moment for the Greek economy. European leaders should be conscious of this above all else.

Europe must show that it respects democracy. It would be inexcusable for European leaders to refuse to accept this result or to react to it in an intransigent or politically partisan way. To do so could be devastating to the European project.

Greece must remain at the heart of Europe. The message that a country is unwelcome in the Eurozone if its people’s democratic decisions do not fit comfortably with Europe’s ruling economic ideology would be one from which European integration might never recover.

It should be very clearly understood, as all polls and the stance of the Greek government indicates,  that the Greek people made this decision with the firm intention of remaining in the Eurozone. It should also be clear that Greece has an absolute right to remain in the Eurozone as it wishes.

The report of the International Monetary Fund on Greece’s debt sustainability on July 2nd makes very clear that Greek debt cannot be paid back in full. The European leadership and Greece’s creditors must reach an agreement with the Greek government which includes a restructuring of Greece’s debt, building from the report of the IMF.

A budgetary programme should be agreed with the Greek government which is as progressive as possible, which does not cause further unnecessary harm to the Greek economy, and which does not further target vulnerable sections of Greek society who have already suffered from five years of austerity. Europe should also encourage and provide all necessary assistance to the Greek government to effectively tackle tax evasion, corruption and oligarchy within Greece.

We also call upon the European Central Bank to fulfill its constitutional obligations to members of the Eurozone and to provide all necessary liquidity to Greek banks suffering from the cap which the ECB placed upon Emergency Lending Assistance to Greek banks last week.

Very different paths can be taken in the wake of this referendum, depending on how Europe’s leaders react. The wrong reaction could lead to the disintegration of the European project, further delegitimisation of democracy in Europe and immense further social and economic damage. We cannot accept that the European leaders chose to ignore such a clear result on the referendum and we urge the European leaders, namely the President of the European Parliament, of the Eurozone and the European Commission, to change the course of negotiations and to find a solution that fits the clear aspirations of the Greek people.

A reaction that respects the verdict of the Greek people could be the beginning of a path away from austerity and towards a more united, equal and democratic Europe. This is our strong belief: a Europe of solidarity that choses people over and above anything else, a democratic Europe that respects the decisions and the will of its people and a Europe of equality where all peoples and countries have the same value.

About The Author