Greek Referendum

Athens, Europe Wage Propaganda War

A woman holds a flyer which reads 'Greece says NO'  during a mass anti-EU rally in central Athens, June 29,2015. Keine Weitergabe an Drittverwerter. [ Rechtehinweis: No usage in France and Poland, Keine Weitergabe an Drittverwerter., Keine Verwendung in Frankreich und Polen, Please check addit ]
'Greece says NO' says the poster - that's just what might happen on Sunday.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The stability of global markets and European unity hinge on how the Greek vote goes on Sunday.

  • Facts


    • Greece holds a referendum on Sunday on whether to accept the terms of a previous offer from its international creditors.
    • The government in Athens claims a “No” vote will strengthen their negotiating stance with the lenders.
    • On Thursday, Finance Minister Varoufakis said he would rather “cut off his arm” than sign up to the proposals.
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Greece’s finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, earlier this week threatened Europeans with initiating legal proceedings against a possible exclusion of his country from the euro zone.

That is somewhat remarkable, since up to now no member of a European government has called for a Grexit. On the contrary, even Mr. Varoufakis’ arch nemesis and German counterpart, Wolfgang Schäuble, made a public statement after the failed negotiations that Greece remains in the euro zone.

That is less a wish than a statement of fact. European Union treaties envision no possibility for an exit from the currency union, much less an expulsion. The euro is set up to be irreversible — which doesn’t mean that a Grexit couldn’t happen.

But the fact remains that many key officials, from French president François Hollande, to Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel, continue to exert themselves to prevent a departure of Athens from the euro. At the moment, they are doing more than the Greek government itself.

Obviously, Mr. Varoufakis is aware of the legal situation and the political will of Europeans. His threat has another motivation: It is part of a propaganda battle.

It began on Monday in a concerted action by the Europeans. The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, called from Brussels for Greek voters to vote with “Yes” on the Sunday referendum “no matter how the question is formulated exactly.” Because a “No” to the lenders’ bailout proposals, the issue on which Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, has called Greeks to vote, would be a “No to Europe,” Mr. Juncker said.

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