Greeks gave a resounding “No” to the proposals by the creditors. Whatever the hurdles, mass media terror, opposition parties and European leaders threatening that this would signal Greece’s kissing goodbye, an astonishing 60% voted against. This vote was not a protest vote but a very mature one.
It represents a clear message from the Greek people to the international lenders that situation has simply crossed the line. Many of them have nothing more to lose, since in the past 5 years they might have been without a job, home, healthcare insurance or don’t earn enough to live on their household and have a decent life.
Last week had been a real chaos, as described by my friends there. Greece once again monopolized the headlines of international media - not without a reason. For the first time ever in the history of the Greek modern state, the banks shut down – firing instantly a series of successive shocks at the society. The ATM limit of 60 euros cash per day, lack in medical supplies, speculating on the after referendum era, protests in favor of “no” or “yes”, internal opinion division, never-ending panel discussions on the television synthesized the picture of Greek reality last week.
The coming days and week will be intense. Greece should reach a deal as soon as possible with the creditors as soon as possible, as it currently literally hanging on the air since the last programme expired on June 30. A summit of the European leaders in scheduled to take place on Tuesday July 7, which will eventually pave the way for the next steps. For the negotiations though to restart, green light from Eurogroup is required. There Greece is faced with the absolute German Finance Minster, Schaueble, who seems immutable of his hard stance. He went even one step further, admitting that Tsipras is totally unwanted considering Grexit as the best case scenario. Underlining in this way his willingness to discredit and humiliate a first-time left government.
In the best case scenario Greece will guarantee a better deal that will calm the markets for a certain period of time without lifting the capital controls at the banks. A better deal by no means equals less painful measures – quite the contrary, it means privatizations, assessment of the public sector, taxes and more. In this order Tsipras might face the resistance from inside the party, which could question his parliamentary credibility.
In the worst case scenario, the proposal from the lenders might stay as it has. With this as a background, banks shut down, lack of products in the market, cancelations in the tourism sector, will further exasperate the Greek population and push Syriza to more radical choices like exiting the euro or holding new elections. Both outcomes is hard to imagine.
Greece has gone through tough times and this referendum does not mean that they will come to an end soon. What it has to end are the austerity policies which have drained the country, eliminated any growth prospects and intensified social injustice. This a critical moment for the EU leaders to reconsider the terms under which they are negotiating. Every member state in the EU is equal and must remain equal to each other.