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Analysis

Tsipras Options Proved Unviable; Greece Still under European Union

Thursday 16 July 2015
Tsipras Options Proved Unviable; Greece Still under European Union
Alwaght- The referendum on the acceptance or rejection of austerity programs of the European Union failed to increase the bargaining power of the Greek government in renegotiating the austerity programs as much as Alexis Tsipras, the leftist Prime Minister of the country expected.



Taking the option of holding a referendum on austerity programs, Tsipras hoped to put pressure on the European Union to moderate the programs and continue the financial aids. However, after holding the referendum and despite the opposition of 61 percent of the Greek people to austerity programs of the European Union, the eurozone countries, particularly Germany, proposed that Greece may withdraw from the European single currency zone (euro). This raised a wide range of reactions in Greece and the European Union, and then they discussed the costs of Greece's leaving the eurozone. Following the cost-benefit discussions as to Greece's leaving or staying in the eurozone, the European countries have concluded that there was no alternative but to keep Greece in the eurozone. Tsipras also came to conclusion that he has no options other than receiving financial aids from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund and adopting parts of the austerity programs in exchange for the aids. After hours of lengthy and difficult negotiations, the leaders of 19 European countries in the eurozone agreed to grant Greece a € 86 billion financial aid. This is the third international bailout package of the European Union from the International Monetary Fund for Greece since the beginning of the economic crisis in the country in 2009.



The third EU bailout package for Greece showed that the European Union, despite the limitations and serious differences over the economic assistance to countries in crisis, cannot be indifferent to such countries. As the costs of indifference can endanger the project of the United European Union, European integration and the project of single European currency zone.



In fact, having accepted the bailout package, Tsipras has practically withdrawn from his former positions. In response to this withdrawal, a number of trade unions staged protests and strikes against the Greek government. The protests and strikes are not expected to affect the decision of the Greek government in accepting the third bailout package from Europe and the IMF.



Despite accepting the bailout package, there are negative and positive views about the future of the economic crisis in Greece. Some European politicians who are pessimistic about the issue, stress that this bailout package will not help Greece, and in the medium term, Greece is likely to exit from the eurozone. They believed the third bailout package will postpone the crisis in Greece, and it will just increase the Greek debts; however, it will have no effect on mending the economic infrastructure of Greece.



In contrast, advocates of the United European Union continue to believe that with the bailout package, they have the necessary tools to advance the economic reforms in Greece, and any government in Greece cannot take any other option to handle the economic crisis.  



As to holding the referendum by the leftist government of Alexis Tsipras, it should be noted that for the time being, the only option he could take to put pressure on the European Union was to hold a referendum. During this period, Greek Prime Minister took many options to get concessions from the European Union. One of these options was to show a tendency towards Russia, and the other one was to demand war reparations from Germany for the occupation of Greece during the World War II. Tsipras also raised the issue of opening up Greece's doors to illegal immigrants who headed Europe to put pressure on the European Union. Eventually, Tsipras realized that he cannot achieve his own goals with such options. As to the tendency toward Russia, it was clear that Russian aid could have no effect on Greece's power to overcome the crisis. Therefore, Greece took these options only to threaten the European Union and put pressure on it. At the end, Tsipras exercised the option of holding the referendum which bore no fruit for Greece.



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