International / Let's talk about Europe

The hardiest is after

20150123PHOWWW01987As expected, SYRIZA party hugely won the Greek early elections by near 40% of the polls vs. only 28% for New Democracy, the outgoing Prime minister’s centre-right party. Alexis Tzipras is now the new leader of the country and will have to find solutions to get his country out of the crisis. Questioning the Troika (ECB, IMF, EU Commission) strategy, Tzipras wants to tackle and put an end to austerity, considering it is killing Greece and its people.

Some politicians and left activists quickly expressed their gladness and hopes once the SYRIZA party victory has been confirmed yesterday night. For instance Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Front de Gauche leader, considered SYRIZA performance as a “historical moment” and most people think the access of Alexis Tziprzas to power should provoke a new deal within the European Union. According to them, Europe, if it wants to be considered and respected by citizens, should take into account the Greek popular will and find a trade-off with the Greek radical left which wants to question the bailout plan and stop the austerity measures imposed by the Troika.


Alexis Tsipras, SYRIZA leader and new Prime minister of Greece, celebrating his victory, the 25th of January at Athens.

Alexis Tzipras has a total legitimacy because he won the elections. Nonetheless, it is needed to remind that SYRIZA performance cannot explained by the rejection of the austerity measures led by the outgoing ND-PASOK coalition since 2012. Tzipras represents a kind of hope, a new start for a country deeply hit by the crisis and which the population does not have the impression theirs efforts have been fruitful and awarded. By voting Tzipras and SYRIZA, a majority of the Greek population wanted to remind to the European Commission and the other EU national leaders, they are still an independent people, freed to elect anyone. Indeed, Jean-Claude Juncker, the new EU Commission president and Angela Merkel, the German chancellor expressed their preference to the outgoing ND-PASOK coalition explicitly, some weeks ago.

Many people inside and outside Greece now hope Tzipras will be able to create a new dynamism in Europe, by imposing the popular will. Some people even hope that SYRIZA victory kicks off the beginning of a popular movement that will put an end to a free-market and so-called technocratic European Union crushing the citizens, due to its so-called non-democratic aspect. But before dreaming a new revolution, Tzipras’ supporters have to be aware the new leader will have to make some concessions with its new EU partners. As I previously explained on a previous post, Alexis Tzipras will not able to impose his conditions as he really wants, he will have to find an agreement, with Angela Merkel especially. Greece clearly needs Europe and to stay within the Eurozne and the new head of the Greek government will have to be moderate if he wants to get some concrete results. Furthermore, if Tzipras wants his future partners to respect the sovereignty of his country, the new Greek Prime minister will have to do the same thing as my friend and colleague, French blogger Fabien Cazenave clearly explains on the French website, Le Plus/L’Obs. And Germany does not have the same priorities or goal than Greece this may be a huge issue during the next European Councils in Brussels.

GREECE-VOTE-TSIPRASIn other words, SYRIZA victory should not become a nightmare for Europe and the EU national leaders. It may even be a huge opportunity for the European Union insofar as Greece eventually will have to find and propose another relevant and credible strategy vis-à-vis the crisis and respect its commitments vis-à-vis its partners. This is a real challenge for Alexis Tzipras who clearly knows the pressure is on his shoulders. Because winning an election is not a problem, this even is the easiest. The hardest is after.