Welfare state policies are the link between economic crisis, unemployment and far right party support. Welfare cuts have increased the insecurity of the European middle classes that are being hit by the economic crisis. This matters because of the implications it has for policy. By reversing austerity, which results in welfare cuts and increases insecurity, we can limit the appeal of right-wing extremism.
One thing is clear, that Alexis Tspiras must stand firm in sweeping waters and against the rising tide. Historians will often say that European man is Greek in provenance. As citizens of Europe we know that Syriza is making decisions in constrained space and time, and that they should be proud -- whatever the outcome -- that they have sought to represent a demographic that extends beyond Greece and touches the heart of Europe.
It is of interest that in rejecting the bailout deal in their historic referendum the Greek people did not reject either the Euro or the European Union. Despite the economic unrest that Greece has experienced over the last few years, OXI was, in its purest form, an affirmation -- the Greek people still hope the EU will listen to them.
As for the EU, there's little else to say. They have gone from promising the earth and the heavens to their citizens, to becoming the executioners of the IMF and their own bankers. Pity they cannot see that by carrying out like this, they are not just destroying Greece but also the very foundations of their precious and profitable political and economic unity. For them, too, the hour of reckoning is nigh.
Some fear the standoff with the Troika - the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission - could derail the Greek recovery and spread to other countries re-igniting the eurozone crisis. Whether smooth sailing or a rocky ride, the voyage will be memorable. Lifejackets at the ready.
Should optimistic views about globalization like those of Michael Mandelbaum hold true, Europe may manage to defuse the crisis as new markets open, economic ties strengthen, and member states realize they have a common goal. Namely, to increase prosperity and profit from the ongoing technological innovation.
Much like sporting events can be histrionically promoted as 'crunch matches', 'the day of reckoning' or similar, recent meetings of the world's central banks have often been given a similar billing. However, it's safe to say that the impact of these economic planning meetings lasts longer than any bangs and scrapes picked up in a 90 minute kick about.
The EU cannot really afford to slow down even though it is about to go into a parliamentarian transition, next May. The reasons for national governments to make the necessary reforms to help SMEs grow will become one of Europe's most expected actions. Not doing enough does not only prevent the EU from becoming more competitive; it is a recipe for more problems down the road...