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June 13, 2016

Comments

D

«to be dealt with by European technocrats accountable to no one»

That's a particularly delirious hallucination, as all the decisions regarding the greek situation were taken solely by democratically elected heads of government in meetings in which the greek head of government fully participated.

To the point that they complained that they had to do all nighters because Tsipras was arguing every detail point.

The EU and Eurozone rules are both very clear indeed, which makes this delirious hallucination even more absurd: no taxing or spending decision can be made by «European technocrats accountable to no one», but solely by heads of government democratically accountable to their voters. Even finance ministers are excluded from decisions (and usually even from attending, never mind speaking, at meetings) on taxing and spending matters.

The delirious hallucination above is even more incomprehensible as in the matter of the greek bailout the polls indicated that a large majority of the 200-300 million eurozone voters wanted a much harsher offer to Greece than the one agreed democratically by the heads of government.

Also, such decisions are made as rule to unanimity: the offer to Greece was made by *all* the democratically elected heads of government of the eurozone, nobody abstained, and since it required unanimity, it was enacted because the democratically elected head of the greek government accepted it and did not veto it as it was their absolute right.

That agreed offer was then democratically voted upon and confirmed by several democratic parliamentary votes in Greece and other major countries. None of them liked it very much, but it was democratically approved by democratically elected heads of governments and their democratically elected parliamentary majorities in democratic and public votes.

Mad Sarmatian

"Nobody abstained, and since it required unanimity, it was enacted because the democratically elected head of the Greek government accepted it and did not veto it as it was their absolute right."

Right, sure, it wasn't the bank holiday forced on the Greek government by the ECB, it was an eminently reasonable answer given by an elected government who was free to decide otherwise.

There are indeed some delirious hallucinations haunting the history of the Greek crisis, but I'm afraid you got wrong who is suffering them.

Jan Smith

Europe is falling apart because it had too little centralized governance, not too much of it.

Specifically, the EU needed a central body with the powers of Keynes's International Clearing Union. That body would have imposed stiff fines on Germany for running extremely large, and repeated year after year, current account surpluses. Indeed, if Germany had been recalcitrant, that body would have seized German surpluses.

To justify its actions, that body would have detailed Germany's large subsidies for its export firms and shown exactly how the Euro is de facto a German currency peg.

In this world, German and French banks would not have loaned so much so casually to the European periphery.

And Britain, no longer spooked by the extreme economic aggression of Germany, would not be fleeing from the great danger of a declining and hence dangerous EU.

genauer

@ Jan Smith

I reject the endless attempts to blame Germany for majority decisions of the Euro Countries in response to a permanent treaty and memorandum violations Greece

WimNusselder

Democracy IN ITS PRESENT FORM is incompatible with deep economic integration on a European scale and an experience of 'sovereignty' by 'the people' (not necessarily only on a national scale).
Decisions by heads of governments chosen in 'democratic' processes are not experienced as sufficiently democratic (and rightly so, because every layer of delegation reduces effective influence).
Representative democracy itself, even at a national level, is challenged by our increased possibilities to e-interact directly with increasing numbers of people, outmanoeuvring outdated hierarchical political structures.

So democracy has to be re-invented anyway, for Europe and on a European scale, but also nationally and in order to accommodate subnational (ethnic, language, cultural) tensions.
'Repairing democracy' as it was is no option any more.

We need a type of democracy that goes beyond counting votes.
It should focus on transparency of decision making processes in which arguments are weighed and on the possibility for every citizen to offer arguments as input for that process.
Not the number of votes, but the content and quality of voices should determine decisions.
Internet provides the means; face-to-face decision making needs to be and can easily be supplemented by it to facility the transparency and inclusivity of political decision making that is needed on all levels.

Richard

As an interested American I admittedly do not know some of the details that residents of the EU/Britain do. But I offer my perspective anyway.

As long as Germany, the Netherlands, and other member states take a punitive and moralistic stance towards its troubled cohorts like Greece, Spain, etc the EU cannot succeed. Rather than blame Greece, etc for its problems these other member states need to acknowledge how much they benefitted from loans and investments in Greece when times were good. Now the EU needs to help it change how it functions. Blaming, threatening, and punishing 'outsiders' is antithetical to a democratic union.

We face the same threats here in the USA in the form of Donald Trump, by the way. Heaven help us, and the rest of the world, if he wins the election in November.

Dmitry

@WimNusselder

Yes, representative democracy is due for a review. But let's not forget the failures of direct democracy either.

You says, "Not the number of votes, but the content and quality of voices should determine decisions."

Agreed, each vote has to be discounted by the "quality" it brings to the table. And yet, what determines the quality? Reputation in a social network? Teenagers will come ahead. Scholarly work published online? Those removed from the "common working men" often make ridiculous errors in judgement. Shall we institute a test to determine fitness to vote? You see where this is going.

Somehow the system needs to allow for direct and immediate input from the people, and yet correct for delusions of the mob.

Jacky

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