In taking a different view, my reader pointed out some alternatives which would be available to Greece if it were not a member of the EU. I must say that that was interesting reading. Obviously, a parting of ways between Greece and the EU would have a tremendous impact on both sides. However, perhaps there are indeed alternative affiliations open to Greece which would be better to the country than the present affiliation with the EU. Below is the reader’s comment.
Greece has the same privileges as any other EU member, so it should have the same obligations as any other EU member. If it can’t live up to those expectations then it should exit the EU.
If it did then it would enjoy the benefits of being an un(der)-developed country. It could call on agencies like the UNDP and World Bank for advice & loans. It could get third-world development aid from the EU. It could join NAM, Jim O’Neill could put in one of his acronyms.
But most of all it could get aid from EU member states, most (all ?) of which channel the bulk of their foreign aid via their own or UN institutions rather than the EU. The EU as an institution has no record of being a major development agency. It’s barely been able administer Kosovo, so why should we expect it to solve the problems of Greece.
The history of Estonia is not so different from Greece, in terms of foreign masters etc – although it never had an Empire, so it never ruled any foreign countries like Greece has. Estonia became free of its most recent occupier about 20 years ago, whereas Greece got rid of its Ottoman masters almost 200 years ago. If Estonians can pick themselves up by their bootstraps, why can’t the Greeks – maybe history has something to do with it.
I do believe the Greeks had quite a bit to do with the Byzantine Empire, the fact the the Patriarch of Constantinople is the nearest thing the Greek Orthodox Church has to a Pope is a testament to that. And the Roman Empire (as opposed to the Roman Republic) was in the eastern region at least as much a Greek affair as it was Roman. No other colony ever had such a major influence on its colonisers as the Greeks did on the Romans. After 620AD Greek was the official language of the Byzantine Empire.
Gibbon on the Byzantine Empire – “the Byzantine Empire was vitiated by a bureaucratic over-elaboration bordering on lunacy: quadruple banked agencies, dozens or even scores of superfluous levels and officials with high flown titles unrelated to their actual function, if any. Access to the Emperor and his council was controlled by powerful and inscrutable eunuchs and by rival sports factions.”
What we see in modern day Greece is more of the same.
Whilst ever the Greek Elites and Hellenophiles see the EU as part of the solution and not as part of the problem, then I believe Greece is doomed to becoming the first failed state from the first world.
If Greece was relegated to the European Customs Union, it would enjoy the benefits of being a most favoured country with respect to trade, but it would not be constricted by EU Treaties and rules – nor would the EU or its member states be restricted in terms of giving it aid and assistance – they could even forgive Greece some of its OSI debt. They could help it set up SEZ’s – but it would not have access to the ECB alphabet soup bowl.
Any more thoughts on that?