Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Wily old Pap?

Richard North of EUReferendum has some interesting things to say about Papandreou's decision to call a referendum. Perhaps it wasn't such a surprise after all, and that Papandreou had previously signalled his intention to 'go to the people' in some way that didn't involve calling a general election that he'd most likely lose. However, the fact remains that he's playing a high stakes strategy, and the potential is there for the Greek people to really upset the EU apple cart. And, to stop this we know that the colleagues will go all out to cajole, frighten, bribe and otherwise ensure that the Greeks make the desired choice.

But, given the mood in the streets, it's not clear that the old strategies that worked in Ireland, for example, will work here. As a piece in the New York Times notes:
Many Greek voters say they are tired of hearing about decisions taken in foreign capitals and political initiatives that do not represent ordinary Greeks. “The government is no longer in control - others are calling the shots,” said Akis Tsirogiannis, a 42-year-old father who recently lost his job at a furniture workshop in Athens.
He said he would vote against the debt deal in a referendum. “This deal, like all the others, is a life sentence of austerity for Greeks,” he said. “We need to reclaim our country.”
As always, when it comes to the EU, nothing should be taken for granted. They've got plenty of previous when it comes to subverting popular opinion. The question is, can they pull it off when the stakes - and the anger - are so high?

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