Downturn poses hard questions for Greece
Ivan Li Lok-yin, STFA Tam Pak Yu College
Faced with financial turmoil, the Greek government proposed a referendum on whether they should accept the bailout plan put forward by the European Union (EU). Yet, after strong opposition from other EU nations, they scrapped the idea. Then the prime minister resigned.
Ironically, top officials from Germany and France said there ought to be a referendum but the main issue is whether Greece should stay in the EU. They must think long and hard before making a decision.
There were political concerns behind the establishment of the EU. Long ago, Europe was a divided continent where co-operation between countries was rare, and war was frequent. The EU was set up to prevent such troubles. This integration was also intended to promote economic growth.
If Greece leaves the union, bonds will be broken and Portugal, Italy and Spain will have no choice but to follow. The implications may be severe and undesirable.
Admittedly, if I were a European, I would be enraged to see that Greece is plunging the whole zone into poverty. But we have to change our mentality. Humans are sometimes selfish. We can reap fruits together when times are good, but once there is a drought, we are reluctant to share the harvest. We should bring our negative characteristics under control and show our compassion. Considering that Greece is not far from bankruptcy, we should give them a hand.
All the same, it may be controversial to let Greece stay in the EU. The union is not a charitable organisation committed to taking care of the poor. Other members of the EU are also struggling to make ends meet. Chronic poverty is not easy to solve. If Greece continues to suffer from economic problems, there is not much the others can do.
Some believe that only if they stand on their own feet will they learn a lesson. Perhaps untangling the political ties, looking on and standing by is the best way to put an end to the economic troubles of Greece and the EU.