The European Dream Transformed to Nightmare

Greece was to emerge from the crisis to become the poster-boy of the European Union. Exit from the crisis would be the master-stroke whereby everyone would understand what Europe was, would see that a nation was exiting the debt crisis thanks to the reforms desired by the EU and with a Premier Alexis Tsipras able to represent a government that followed to the letter the dictates of the European Commission and the Troika, a government that would drag Greece out of the mire. Greece would be a nation capable of doing the household management by itself so dear to the Europeanists, to become the carnation in Europe`s buttonhole.

Sad that the reality turns out to be altogether other than what Europe promised and trumpeted. And sad that what was to become the Europeanist dream has transformed in a few months into a nightmare that has devastated Greece, destroying the social, economic and also the political fabric. Greece today is a nation floating in mid-air, on the brink of the precipice, a nation where the “cure” imposed by Brussels, Frankfurt and international creditors has created the premises for one of the gravest social crises of our time. Two disastrous statistics demonstrate this: the infant mortality rate has visibly increased (although our pro-EU ultras have not chosen to say so), while, as reported by the Huffington Post, “suicides increased by 40% between 2010 and 2015, with deaths due to suicide now at an average annual rate of 7.8% as against 1.6% before the crisis.”

Tsipras, who rose to power described at European summits as a kind of magic flute turning sorrow to joy, has transformed himself into one of the best executors of the diktats of Troika & co.. And the left-wing of Syriza, once a populist movement before its time, has revealed itself instead as a party perfectly faithful to duty. But not its duty towards the people as much as to its duty as decided by Brussels and its neighbours. All the while that a country impoverished and with no more hope was forced to sell off all its strategic assets and allow its territory to be invaded by China, which immediately included Piraeus in the New Silk Road, and by other EU countries ready immediately to exploit the forced privatisation by the Greek state. Germany first of all, whose Chancellor Angela Merkel, recently much more easy-going and cordial regarding the Greek population, seized the opportunity to act so that her banks profited from the Greek debt while German companies acquired the economic pillars of the public sector, starting with that of tourism. And this seems to be the sentence handed-down to Greece: to be a tourist paradise with no hope of acquiring the distinguishing marks of a robust economy, with a Greek people relegated to a kind of secondary problem, with the homeless increased fourfold, hospitals on the brink of collapse, a biblical exodus of the young and foreigners buying-up houses and those who remain living on rents.

On these premises, the European elections and the subsequent policies could expose all the failure of the European Union. So much for cures: the one cure has been almost mortal. As to Tsipras, the opinion polls speak clear. The party of the head of government is in inexorable collapse while the opposition New Democracy party, which is certainly not anti-EU but definitely does not represent its moderate left, is on irrepressible rise. While Pasok, which once reigned over Hellas relegated to third party in the struggle against the extreme-right Golden Dawn. But Europe too will inevitably be hit, the Europe which exits from this Greek crisis with one great result alone: the country on which it has rained all its fury of austerity and fire sales has been the tombstone of relations between the peoples and the European bureaucracy.

Translation from Italian by John Lanigan