This article was first published on The Commentator
The tragedy of Greece seems to be flaring up again. Over the past seven years the country been utterly ruined by its continued membership of the Eurozone and the resulting mess the EU has caused. Democratically-elected Prime Ministers have been ousted by the EU and swingeing austerity measures have been mandated, despite the continued electoral objections of the Greek people. Worryingly, the situation in Greece looks like it’s going take another turn for the worse, with profound implications for Britain.
Greece’s economic situation is now at the most dire it has ever been. Youth unemployment is now sitting at 51.9% and has been rising steadily over the past 6 months. What little growth there has been has stalled, and the Greek Parliament is becoming increasingly resistant to forced austerity, which the EU is insistent is necessary for continued bailout funds. Regardless of the austerity forced on them, the International Monetary Fund now expects Greek debts will continue to rise almost unendingly. Greece at some point will require either a much larger, unconditional bailout or it will default on its debt. The sticking plaster deal which has been agreed this week does nothing but delay the inevitable default and only adds more debt to Greece’s already vast stack. The only winner here has been the German banks. Eventually Britain will also lose out, potentially losing the money we have already paid to Greece as part of the bailout, and we might still be on the hook for even more money, which we are unlikely ever to see again if we remain a member of the EU.
Greece is not the only country Britain could be called upon to help with a financial bailout. Concerns are continually growing over Italy, whose economy has barely grown since the adoption of the Euro! They are now the 3rd most indebted government in the world, behind only Japan and the USA, with their debt standing at close to 2.2 trillion €uros. To put it another way, this is 75% of the entire UK economy. Italy’s debt is continually rising and their debt is becoming increasingly unserviceable as it climbs faster than its economy can grow. Under current projections, Italy’s economy cannot recover until the mid-2020s, as it’s simply piling on the debt. This crisis is so huge, the EU would be forced to attempt to save it, and letting Italy default would be catastrophic for the European banking system. Already, the United Kingdom has been forced to contribute over £1billion to the Greek bailout – the amount Britain could be forced to contribute to an Italian bailout would be so much more.
The destruction of the Greek economy has not been the only utter catastrophe inflicted on Greece by the EU. The migration crisis is forcing a huge strain on Greece, as it’s broadly no longer in control of its own borders. Greek officials – who have been completely overwhelmed by the crisis – have largely been replaced by EU officials, namely the EU Border Guard Agency Frontex. Whilst this may sound as if the EU is helping Greece, it really is not. Frontex do not know what is best for Greece – they obey their bosses back in Brussels. Greeks are becoming increasingly resistant to being used as Europe’s processing centre for migrants. These frustrations have continued to rise, as the EU has repeatedly failed to deliver on promises to resettle in other EU countries, those formally accepted as refugees. There are currently over 160,000 refugees in Italy and Greece who the EU has promised to re-locate. The plans were too have re-settled over 20,000 refugees by May, but so far only 1,800 have been found new places to live. Meanwhile, the already struggling Greek and Italian governments are left to fund the relief efforts as best as they can.
The EU’s dealing with the migration crisis is also causing even more human misery. Despite the recent headlines saying the migration crisis has been solved, they have simply made it worse. Once again migrants and refugees are using people-smugglers, being forced into ramshackle boats at huge expense, and risking the dangers of crossing the Mediterranean to Italy. Over the past week there have been 3 separate attempted crossings which have ended with many deaths. The EU’s failure to come up with a real solution to the migration and refugee crisis, one based on the British model of re-locating the most vulnerable from camps from Syria, has led to this. Their sticking plaster of paying Turkey billions of €uros to do seemingly nothing is not a solution. Until the EU admits this, there will be more and more deaths crossing the Mediterranean and an increasingly impossible burden placed on Italy and Greece who are required to deal with this.
Under the twin burdens of debt and the migration crisis, Greece is collapsing. The recently re-started trial of various neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn members for murder, highlights how deep the trouble runs. It wasn’t paused because of issues to do with the evidence – or the defence – but because of a 4.5 month lawyers’ strike! Greece no longer has a functional criminal justice system. The Greek State realistically cannot afford much more EU “help”. The swingeing austerity cuts are pushing Greeks to political extremes – with Golden Dawn now the 3rdmost popular party, according to recent opinion polls. The EU, through its own actions, is responsible for the growth and revival of this neo-Nazi party. It just goes to show how incompetent the EU has been in aiding Greece – one of its Member States.
The EU has run Greece into the ground, and it’s threatening to do the same to Italy. It rides roughshod over the democratic objections and the suffering of their people – all in the name of “European Unity”. It is frankly immoral to be part of a political project like the European Union, which is so willing to put failed political ideals above the welfare of its people. Britain should not be a part of a union like this which is bringing proud independent nations to the point of utter ruination. This is before we even get to the untold billions in extra contributions Britain has made, and will in future be forced to contribute to prolong the misery of Greece and potentially Italy in the future. To help safeguard the future of Europe against EU incompetence and prevent the ruin of nations we must Get Britain Out.