The Greek cri­sis and the seeds of di­vi­sion

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY NIKOS KONSTANDARAS

com­mon home, where each mem­ber had rights and obli­ga­tions and the whole was much greater than its parts. There­fore, Greece could bor­row on the mar­kets as if it was an eco­nomic su­per­power but was left hang­ing on its own when it ran into trou­ble. In­stead of the EU mem­ber-states hav­ing pre­pared to deal with such an even­tu­al­ity “in the fam­ily,” forc­ing Greece to take its medicine and get­ting it back on its feet with­out mak­ing a big show of it, they chose to make an ex­am­ple of Greece, pre­sent­ing its woes as a mod­ern para­ble, its peo­ple as beg­gars eye­ing the money of tax­pay­ers in other mem­ber-states. Later, mech­a­nisms for deal­ing with such prob­lems were adopted but the seeds of di­vi­sion had taken root. The pil­lo­ry­ing of Greece, its po­lit­i­cal sys­tem’s in­abil­ity to han­dle a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion, the ap­peal to the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund, and vot­ers’ anger in other coun­tries, gave im­pe­tus to na­tion­al­ism in Greece, Ger­many and else­where. The EU’s gen­eral weak­ness, the in­creas­ingly ev­i­dent hege­mony of Ger­many and the un­prece­dented rude­ness of ex­changes be­tween of­fi­cials of var­i­ous coun­tries re­leased forces of big­otry. In Greece we wit­nessed the first great dis­plays of distrust in the na­tional and Euro­pean elites. Now we see sim­i­lar dy­nam­ics across Europe, from Britain to Hun­gary – and in the United States. What­ever prob­lems coun­tries face, some

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