The results of last Sunday’s elections in Greece reveal not only the deep fragmentation of the political system in Greece but also a polarized electoral environment within Greek society. Clearly the outcome of the elections signals the willingness of the Greeks to remain within the Eurozone and within the European Union structures, but also sends a stronger message domestically to the political establishment that the period of single-party governments is long gone. The electorate desires cooperation at different levels not only to overcome the crisis but also to build a safer future within the European architecture. At the same time there is a strong momentum against the austerity measures that cannot be overlooked by the forthcoming government and this will pose a considerable threat to the reforms and the implementation of the required measures by the bailout agreement. This means that the new government will face strong opposition (even on the streets) and will have to seek a more general consensus but also, push forward an agenda of renegotiation of the memorandum with the Troika.
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Today’s debate in the Commons on holding a referendum on EU membership very simply highlights the dangers of the issue for David Cameron.  Remember that he was the leader who finally poured balm on what had been a very divisive topic for the Conservatives, although it not appears that this was largely by the expedient of not talking about it any more than necessary, rather than any fundamental resolution.  Whereas leaders such as Hague and Duncan-Smith has attempted to control the issue by giving it fuller expression, Cameron was astute enough to recognise that given the low level of public interest in the matter, the best thing was to park it all to one side.  This strategy was helped by the situation after the Lisbon treaty, where further integration wasn’t on the table and the risks of being caught out appeared minimal. Continue reading »

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It is certainly not a secret that ‘Plan B’s have been cooked up for the future of Greece within the Eurozone. From time to time new ideas and incentives come to the forefront, the latest one being that of Mr. Simon Wolfson, CEO of Next and Conservative life peer, who is trying to entice economists to come up with a plan for how countries can quit the Eurozone by offering a cash prize of £250,000 to the best solution. Not too bad of an idea if only the solution was so cheap and, in fact, not political. Continue reading »

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