Just because Alexis Tsipras had to bow to pressure from creditors, don’t expect the European Union’s renegade movements to give up their struggle anytime soon.
The Greek premier’s capitulation hands ammunition to those like Marine Le Pen in France and Beppe Grillo in Italy who see the EU as a totalitarian bloc that rides roughshod over national sovereignty and democracy. Grillo, who wants out of the euro, said in a blog post that Europe “humiliated” Greece. Tsipras was “forced to capitulate to EU despotism,” National Front leader Le Pen said in a televised news conference Monday. The bloc’s common currency, she said, is “not sustainable and a catastrophe.”
Greece’s struggle with euro-area creditors over the terms of a third bailout echoed more broadly across the political spectrum, from Spain in the south to Scotland in the north. That solidarity fuels the risk of political instability as anti-establishment forces that variously reject austerity, oppose the EU or abhor the single currency feel vindicated by Greece’s treatment.
Government bond yields rose in Spain, Portugal and Ireland on Tuesday as the reverberations from Greece continued.
“While Tsipras in the end had to play by the rules of the euro zone, the ‘enough is enough’ message from Syriza and similar movements resonated strongly across Europe,” Shada Islam, director of policy at the Friends of Europe advisory group in Brussels, said by phone. “I don’t see that voters will become any less supportive of these parties.”
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