Alexis Tsipras election campaign Wassilios Aswestopoulos/ZumaPress

A New Chance for Greece

On September 20, Greek voters will go to the polls – yet again – in a snap election called by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. After the latest financial rescue – additional money from the country’s creditors in exchange for structural reforms – will Greece, the twenty-first century’s “sick man of Europe,” refuse to take its medicine?

ATHENS – On September 20, Greek voters will go to the polls – yet again – in a snap election called by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. The early poll was no surprise: almost a third of Tsipras’s colleagues in his leftist Syriza Party refused to endorse the bailout he had negotiated with the country’s creditors. In a parliamentary vote on the deal last month, Tsipras, in office since January, was forced to rely on support from the opposition.

So was the international community’s sigh of relief after the latest financial rescue – additional money from Greece’s creditors in exchange for structural reforms – premature? Will Greece, the twenty-first century’s “sick man of Europe,” persist in refusing to reform?

The underlying issue is whether Europe’s monetary union needs greater integration to manage crises such as Greece’s, or whether it can maintain the current approach, founded on national responsibility and sanctions for those who break the rules. Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, has suggested that those sanctions should include expulsion from the eurozone – something that was never envisaged in the European Union’s 1992 Maastricht Treaty.

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