The icy initial reaction from Europe's elites at the election victory demonstrates that the message of the Greek people has hit a hot button in Europe. The Syriza victory and subsequent new government of Syriza and the Independent Greek party shows that imposing reforms top down from the EU level at EU countries is not a sustainable way for economic and monetary policy in Europe.
An economy cannot be seen separately from the people who are the economy. Economic growth is not a number but something that should be inclusive and real for our citizens. For this reason we cannot separate economy from democracy. Too long the EU and the Eurozone policies were based on the assumption that we could separate economic and monetary policy from culture and democracy.
European economic policies and Eurozone monetary cannot simply continue without sufficient support among national electorates. The fundamental implicit condition for the current EU and Eurozone policies has been the political assumption that parties who back these current policies will always win the national elections. This assumption has been disproved and a simple demand to new governments to fall into line is an insufficient answer to this new challenge for Europe. Repeating the status quo is no longer sufficient.
The ECPM has a constructive view towards the EU but the current situation proves that we indeed need real reform of the EU and the way it is functioning. We need a robust EU that has sufficient support in the EU Member-States. We need an EU that is less dependent on one type of policies or political direction and that is not shocked if the political support for certain policies falls away. We need an EU of fundamental values and freedoms rather than an EU of simply ‘more oversight and more markets’. We need an EU that is not less united if it is less identified with ‘Brussels’. We want an EU that trusts the Member-States and is capable to harbour more diversity in policies and political directions. An EU that can stand united in defending fundamental values in Europe and the world as is needed now towards Russia, in Iraq and Syria. At the same time the EU should allow and support diversity in the Member States on policies where that is possible and even needed (for example by supporting energy diversification).
We need a serious reconsideration of the Eurozone and its monetary policies, especially where these policies touch the core trust in the EU. It is inexplicable to voters if the ECB on the one hand puts 1.1 trillion Euro in financial markets (of which the rich profit most) and at the same time demands austerity in Member States (hitting the poor hardest).
There is certainly not an easy solution to the Greek situation and the ECPM has distinct different views than the Syriza led government. But the Greek elections are a democratic fact that signal a wider and deeper challenge across the EU. We invite all those who envision a new and value based direction for the EU to work with us for a better EU that offers a real future. Our foundation, the CPFE, will expand its existing activities (like the State of Europe Forum) and research (‘A Community of Peoples’) and will strengthen its focus at a reformed Europe.