Greece's austerity: democracy tested to destruction
Λιτότητα στην Ελλάδα: Η δημοκρατία δοκιμάζεται στην καταστροφή
She certainly made good on her side of the deal: Greece has spent the past two years on a financial life-support that has kept its government ticking over, but which has destroyed its economy and pushed its entire democracy to the brink of collapse.
This week, Athens re-enacted what has become a traditional ritual. Under duress from its troika of creditors (the IMF, the European commission and the European Central Bank), the government identified more areas for cuts and deregulation: another 8,000 civil servants to be sacked by next Christmas, yet more slashing of pensions and wages and of the minimum wage. Meanwhile, the country went on a general strike and petrol bombs were lobbed at the Vouli, the parliament, even as MPs voted through the package. If the government also passes its 2013 budget this Sunday, it will get another chunk of cash to keep paying salaries and other bills.
In the heart of Europe, a democracy now teeters on the edge. True, most of the blame for this is that of a corrupt Greek elite that has dominated politics, business and media for many decades. But the rest of the eurozone is also guilty: first for enforcing impossible austerity, then for turning a blind eye to the predictable results. Mrs Merkel was surely right: no other country – in Europe or elsewhere – would want this.