The question of democratic legitimacy is complicated by the fact that the Eurogroup agreement is not just about Athens. It is subject to the approval of other parliaments, starting with the Finns, who have scheduled two special sessions in March, and therefore requires that the Greek agreement be established by the end of February. Similarly, the Greek request to change the content of the current agreements would create a new legal basis and require a new vote by the German Parliament. Greek democracy has faced new external pressure linked to time: at the end of the month, the ECB will not be able to extend aid to Greek banks without a political agreement guaranteeing Athens` continuation in the euro. If, in the absence of such an agreement, the ECB were to grant loans and the loans would not be repaid, the ECB`s losses would result in a tax redistribution of Greek taxpayers to other countries. This would go beyond the Bank`s mandate to call into question the legality of its action. Athens has called for a bridge agreement that should give the new government – four months – enough time to formulate its own reform policy, which was apparently not detailed during the election campaign. Tsipras must clarify the political contradiction he faces: he won the elections by promising to revise the country`s existing agreements with the European institutions. Amid the bitter conflict with Europe, Tsipras said on Tuesday that his government intended to deliver on its campaign promises. The Greek Parliament is now called upon to vote on reform measures that depart from agreements with the troika. The difference with the conditions imposed by other European governments via the Eurogroup is considerable. Athens was asked to maintain the reforms; accept new measures, even if they do not affect the deficit; To ensure that it will pay its debts; cooperation with the troika; and implement the agreed-upon programme. Even if a majority of Greeks preferred to abandon the euro rather than accept agreements that they consider unfair, it is doubtful to claim a right to defend Greek democracy before the european technocratic government bursts.
Finally, Athens` position is based on Syriza`s internal campaign promise to weigh in on other European citizens to ease financial conditions in Greece. The democratic value of such a promise, made unilaterally without consulting the European interlocutors who would bear the costs, is highly controversial. The bitter struggle between Brussels and Athens ended ambiguously. The Greek government had to swallow some commitments dictated by the partners, but from the beginning it tried to sell the agreement as a victory at home. The political contradiction between international engagement and national consensus was immediately apparent and will inevitably increase in the coming months when parliamentary decisions will have to be followed. Like so many state actions that we condemn today, ethnic cleansing was not so long ago seen as a legitimate instrument of foreign policy. At the beginning of the 20th century, forced displacement of the population was not uncommon, as multicultural empires collapsed and nationalism spurred the formation of new ethnically homogeneous countries. The informal reciprocal exodus of Palestinians and Jews during the founding of Israel in the 1940s is well known; Less is known about the expulsions of millions of East European Germans and the massive transfer of Hindus and Muslims between Pakistan and India after World War II.
In “Twice a Stranger: The Mass Expulsions That Forged Modern Greece and Turkey,” Bruce Clark, editor-in-chief of international security at The Economist, investigates another such incident: the population exchanges that helped create modern Greece and Turkey.