Well, if bashing Greeks can save a career!

Never mind the economics for a moment, having to watch the eurozone walk all over the new Greek government was nothin short of shocking.

This is not how politics is done in the EU.
Sure, you have fights, all the time. Bitter and acrimonious fights even. But you always allow everyone to save face.
The EU is master of papering over deep rifts, cloathing superficial compromises in words of conciliation.

But the Greeks had to be stamped upon. In public. In the most humiliatiing way.

German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble meted out the punishment and could not stop himself from gloating.
Schäuble was in favour of a grexit in 2012, didn´t get his way then so did what he could to provoke one this time around.
To be sure, the Greeks bringing up Nazis and the WW2 didn´t do anything to help their cause with the Germans.

But how could the other EU governments have let him?
Why would they allow Schäuble  to go against everything that has held the EU together for so long?
In the EU, you don´t crush opponents even if you can, because you will have to work with them tomorrow  and the next day and the next day again.

They let Schäuble loose because there were more people in the room, other than him, that wanted the Greeks to be publicly humiliated.
Not for the Greek audacity to ask for, basically, more time to repay so as not to aggravate the social plights of their people.
Not for fear of any moral hazard.
Certainly  not to save the credibility of the eurozone
They demonstrated that clearly by according France yet another ”sursis” from the obligation to use austerity to fix the French deficit.

No, they did that for fear of losing their next election and their own sweet spot at the power.

The Irish government has a furious population to handle back home. Having lived through a harsh austerity-regime in order to save their banks, people only really seem to feel they had had enough when the government this winter announced the introduction of fees for water.
High fees, up to 500 euros a year.

It´s been a long time since we´ve seen the Irish so mad. If the Greek government gets away with pleading hardship for their people, will  the Irish people not ask themselves why their government never attempted to do so?
The Irish government is not about to find out, they don´t want any more upsets or they know they will be out on their backsides.

In Spain, anti-austerity Podemos rates first in all opinion polls.
If Syriza succeds to put a damper on the austerity fever of the Eurozone, Podemos will for certain have won the argument against Prime minister Mariano Rajoy and his People´s Party .

Portuguese prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho refuses all leniency towards the Greek government and  calls Syriza demands ”a fairytale” ignoring the Socialist opposition (leading in the polls) arguing for a better treatment of the Greeks.

The austerity-enamoured Finnish Prime minister Jyrkki Katainen has an upcoming election where his coalition-partners, the Social-Democrats, are faced with an internal rebellion that argues for a ”more social Europe”.

And French socialist president Hollande, why did he not stand up for his Greek friends? Well, that would have lost him the extra time he has asked for to fix the French deficit.  Without it he would be force to introduce more austerity and his voters will then, for sure, not accord him a second round as president.

So to strengthen their chances to remain in power, these politicians chose to trample all over the new Greek government.
And stamp about a bit, for good measure.
We´ve seen the broader European interest being thrown to the wind before, in order to save a narrower national interest but this wasnt even about that.
They sacrified the Greeks for their personal careers.

Did they at the same time sacrifice the  functioning of the unique political animal that is the European Union?, who weirdly has managed to march on through one crisis after another, helped along by the most imaginative compromises that pretends everyone has won something they can show off to their home audiences.
It´s not anywhere near perfect. It is often ludicrous.
But it has got us a very long way.
Can the EU hold together in the future now that we know it can turn on one of its own?
It remains to be seen.

All the same, the public thrashing of the Greeks was shocking to watch.

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