German Chancellor Angela Merkel has won a crucial battle, but the war rages onby David Patrikarakos / July 14, 2015 / Leave a comment
When Alexis Tsipras took office as Greece’s Prime Minister in January he declared war on the eurozone. The two previous bailout packages that Greece had signed with the Troika—Greece’s three creditors: the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund—were, he had repeatedly made clear throughout his election campaign, unacceptable.
Tspiras really seemed to believe that he could change the way the eurozone worked. That he could bring an end to neoliberal economic orthodoxy and its vicious stalking horse, austerity. And he had the support of his country to try to do it. Syriza, the party he leads, went from gaining around five per cent of the vote in Greece’s 2007 elections to being just two seats short of an overall majority in the 300-strong Greek parliament this January.
Since then, Syriza has been locked in a head-on battle. On one side stood the Prime Minister himself, supported—until recently—by Greece’s ex-minister of Finance, Yanis Varoufakis. On the other: Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, and her own Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. At stake was both Greece’s viability as a solvent state and the future of the eurozone itself. In the end Tsipras blinked. Mutti, or “mother” as the Germans affectionately (or sarcastically depending on their political orientation) call Merkel, didn’t.