Euro or Drachma? It’s Not All About a Dilemma

Those not being familiar with the new emerging reality in Greece should know that it is a country within which currently one in two young people are jobless, the recession overcomes the 5 percent as a percentage of the GDP and many employees are being forced to work for a salary of 300 or 400 euros per month. All these are the “achievements” of a policy imposed by the IMF and European lenders of Greece and implemented by the Greek government regimes during the last two-and-a-half years in the country. Pensions and wages were cut, the rate of poverty has increased dramatically and Greek citizens are asked to bear more and more sacrifices on their income as part of a broader austerity plan towards achieving a more competitive economy. In other words, its European partners accompanied by the IMF’s economic policies put Greece into the painful way of an internal devaluation of the economy driven by hard austerity measures.

This policy failed but it left behind the dramatic result of a society being now on the brink of a general revolution, even if that means the exit of the country from the eurozone. The stance that Greeks showed at the last general elections indicates their disregard to a dilemma posed by the two parties (New Democracy and PASOK) that had ruled over the country for about the last three decades. That dilemma was about whether Greek people would vote for these two political parties ensuring Greece’s staying in the eurozone or would support the leftist party of SYRIZA that — according to certain arguments — could drive the county to adisordered exit from the common currency of euro. The result of the general elections was the latter, a result that surprised the markets, IMF, and European partners — which since than have started to realize that the political system in Greece is going through tremendous changes. These changes are the result of a new reality emerged in the country along with the economic crisis which actually made people share the aspect that it is time for them to punish with their vote the politicians and political parties considered responsible for getting the country’s economy into a standstill and utter chaos. So, the day after the Greek general elections of May 6, even though they did not lead to the formulation of a coalition government, nothing is the same in Greece. Towards a new round of general elections set on the 17th of June, Greeks seem to be very nonchalant about the possibility of exiting the eurozone, which is the worse case scenario but rather realistic according to some analysts — if the voters put in motion the leftist party of SYRIZA.

However the point is not whether the leftist SYRIZA is endangering the country’s place in the eurozone, but whether Greek people are actually concerned about the possibility of seeing Greece to get back into the drachma. Although the majority of Greeks want to be retained in the common currency, they believe that the future of their country cannot be managed by those political parties like New Democracy and PASOK that have supported the imposition of the harshest austerity measures of the last 30 years in Greece. The leftist party of SYRIZA has not persuaded people yet that can run the country safely by keeping it onto the path of the common European monetary family. However the Greek electorate is very likely to turn to SYRIZA or some other parties opposing the austerity policy followed the last two years in the country. If this speculation is confirmed by the result of the upcoming general elections in June, Greece will face the dramatic danger of departing the eurozone. But is this really going to happen or is it merely a threat to intimidate voters towards averting them from the option of favoring SYRIZA or other austerity policy-opposed parties? Not a clear answer can be given yet.

I am not sure whether Greeks are actually worried about leaving or not the eurozone. What I can assert is that people who have lost their jobs or do not have any money to pay for their basic needs, do not care about the dilemma of the euro or drachma. Threatening Greeks with exit from the eurozone is not enough to help them to make the right choice. It’s not only all about a dilemma but about how the Greek nation — and especially young people — will find again a reason to hope and believe that their future can get better, even if Greece after the very crucial next general elections can make it and stay hopefully in the eurozone.

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