Referendum in Greece: Consulting the People is an Utmost Necessity, but not on the Basis of a Blackmail

Referendum en Grèce : la consultation du peuple est une nécessite absolue mais pas sur la base d’un chantage

George Papandreou has announced tonight the holding of a referendum in Greece, about the agreement made in Brussels, which provides the abandonment of 50% of the banks’ debt (haircut) in exchange of renewed austerity measures and guarantees on the public funds of the Eurozone’s member countries.
The Party of the European Left (EL) has always been in favour of consulting the Greek as well as the people of Europe in general on main political issues. This is a question of democracy and respect of national sovereignties.
It is scandalous that such a simple and legitimate idea is causing distraught to leaders of Europe and financial markets. It proves once again that they reject basic democratic principles.
At the same time, the EL cannot be satisfied of the manner the referendum was presented by George Papandreou. The Greek people would have to choose, according to him, between approving the agreements of Brussels – meaning more social bloodletting – and taking the responsibility over the bankruptcy of the country and the return to a national currency. This is an inacceptable blackmail and a misleading debate, because the agreements of Brussels are not providing in any case solutions to prevent the bankruptcy of Greece and to find a way out of the crisis.
For the EL, consulting the Greek is an utmost necessity but it has to be used within a clear debate about the solutions to end the crisis, not by blackmailing. This debate would include alternative solutions proposed by the EL and many other social forces.

Party of the European Left
1 November 2011