Rising to the fore as the country’s second-most popular party was Syriza, a coalition of left-leaning parties that promised to keep Greece in the euro and, among other things, increase wages, halt public sector layoffs and repudiate Greece’s debt.
For the guardians of the monetary union in Europe — not to mention Greece’s political establishment — it is the most dangerous of notions.
The fear is not so much that Syriza’s platform becomes policy. … The fear is more the view that Greeks are beginning to feel that they need not buckle to Europe’s terms. For if the Greeks come to accept that there may be an easier route to recovery, perhaps the Irish, Portuguese and the Spanish and Italians may also reach a similar conclusion.
Which is why Germany’s foreign minister said on Friday that Greece must proceed with the agreed-upon cuts — a quite drastic 5 percent of its gross domestic product — or not receive any more bailout money. Analysts estimated that Greece has about 2 billion euros in cash left, which should allow the government to function until late July or August. Without the next bailout tranche of about 31 billion euros, the country would quickly default and eventually be forced out of the currency union.
But Greek voters, unsurprisingly, are increasingly questioning such ultimatums. The parallel language between Greece – EU and Detroit – the State of Michigan is interesting, although in Detroit’s case austerity was a disciplinary condition for maintaining (reduced) autonomy, while Greece is offered the choice between austerity and isolation .