The Corner

‘Weimar on the Aegean’

Nick Cohen writes in the Guardian:

When those madcap Scandinavian satirists awarded the Nobel peace prize to the European Union, they let everyone in on the joke by praising its commitment to “reconciliation, democracy and human rights”. If the committee’s 2012 citation were anything other than a spoof, you would have read denunciations of the rise of oppressive state power and neo-Nazism in Greece from concerned Euro commissioners long before now.

The EU denounces threats to freedom of speech in Viktor Orbán’s Hungary with vigour…On the fate of Greek democracy there is silence, however, although there is much that Europe’s leaders might talk about….

All the Greek journalists I spoke to emphasised that Athens was not Beijing or Tehran, but they described how the liberal certainties they once held now appeared flimsy. Helena Smith, our superb Athens correspondent, says that she feels as if she is standing on shifting sands. If the centrist coalition fails, and the troika’s punitive demands have condemned it to failure, then the left opposition in [the far-left] Syrzia will probably take over. After that, [the neo-Nazi] Golden Dawn, maybe? No one knows. Nothing is unthinkable in a climate of fear and hopelessness…

You can blame the corruption Greek society tolerated. You can blame the bankers for the crash. But you must also apportion blame to Europe’s politicians and bureaucrats who accepted Greece (and the rest of southern Europe) into a single currency area that has put them at a permanent competitive disadvantage and refused to write off debts Greece can never repay.

No wonder they stay silent about the abuse of the human rights the Nobel prize committee insisted European integration guaranteed. Greece is the Eurocrats’ very own Weimar on the Aegean. They helped build it.

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