By François Delapierre*
Amid this icy return to work, those who aspire to a thaw in the European climate, something [French Socialist President] Hollande has not achieved, have their eyes turned towards Greece, and their thoughts on Spain. The Greek people vote first on 25 January and the Spanish have their general elections in September 2015, and before that [in May] municipal and regional elections.
Not that the Greeks have the means alone to force a retreat of Europe’s oligarchy, but they would be the first people to try a political alternative to the austerity measures. Of course, the Spanish economic and political weight in the European Union gives them the power to renegotiate their debt under much more favourable conditions. Still, the Greeks would be the first to flower in Europe in the Mediterranean Spring that has struggled so hard to settle permanently on the southern shore of the Mediterranean.
From a technical point of view, almost all of the Greek debt, securitized, has been bought by the European Central Bank, which would have no trouble meeting any refusal to pay. Except that we cannot assume there will not be the most ideological reactions from European officials saying that the Greeks have not paid their dues. In short, once cannot exclude a situation in which the Greek people would be pushed to a point of rupture.
The effect of a Syriza victory on January 25 would be primarily political and would depend largely on the willingness of other nations to commit to taking the Greek way, that is, rejecting austerity. Starting with the Spaniards in September. And then the French in 2017.
* National Secretary of France’s radical left Front de Gauche party
Translation by Revolting Europe