While we wait to see how tonight’s Greek vote of confidence goes, this open letter by Greek finance minister (and Papandreou frenemy) Venigelos to the prime minister is worth checking out, but in particular this section:
Greece’s position within the euro area is a historic conquest of the country that cannot be put in doubt. This acquis by the Greek people cannot depend on a referendum. The country must feel safe and stable and that is the first requirement in order for it to be truly safe and stable. Greek banks are totally secure, as an integral part of the European banking system. This was apparent last night from the discussion in Cannes. What is important is for the sixth tranche to be disbursed, without any distractions or delay, according to the decisions of Eurogroup of October 26, which came as a result of 10 hours of hard negotiations.
Ten whole hours. Wow. Take note though of that word ‘acquis’. That’a shorthand for ‘acquis communautaire’, Brussels jargon for the overall body of EU law. All applicants to the EU are expected to sign up for this on, essentially, an all or nothing basis. There is a clear implication that once a competence has passed within the EU’s acquis, it cannot be retrieved. Venigelos is, in effect, saying that the same applies to Greece’s membership of the Eurozone, regardless of what voters may want. At the very least he should be commended for his honesty. As it happens, most Greeks do want to stick with the euro, it’s just the terms of the bailouts they don’t like. Free lunches aren’t so great when you have to pay for them.
As to how the tonight’s vote will go, Business Insider is drawing attention to the thoughts of Greek Socialist MP, Eva Kaili. I can’t think why.