Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Will the Greeks Get a Referendum?

If several Greek political parties get their way, Greece will hold a referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon. According to ANSAmed:

EU: Treaty, Greek Parliament Votes on Referendum

Athens, June 17 — The Greek parliament gathers today to discuss and vote on a proposal put forward by socialist party PASOK for a national referendum on the European Treaty, despite the fact that the treaty was already approved by the single-chamber parliament last week.

The proposal of PASOK, which voted for the ratification, has symbolic value as the ruling New Democracy (ND, centre-right) of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has the sufficient absolute majority to reject the initiative of George Papandreou. Together with PASOK’s proposal, the parliament will also vote on three similar motions presented by the left-wing coalition Syriza, the communists (KKE) and the small right-wing party Laos.
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The parliamentary debate is interesting not so much for the results but for the possible position against the referendum to be taken by MPs of PASOK close to former Prime Minister Costas Simitis. Simitis was recently expelled from the party’s parliamentary group for criticising Papandreou’s position on the referendum, and for that matter the polls show strong divisions within PASOK and there are serious concerns of a split.

According to some observers, Simitis’ attack could be the beginning of an action aimed at challenging the leadership of Papandreou who is accused of making PASOK lose much of its supporters.

There are a couple of interesting things at work here. One is the split within a major political party over the Lisbon Treaty, which echoes what is happening in Britain.

It’s also worth noting that so many opponents of Lisbon (or at least so many proponents of referenda) are from various socialist parties. There are Euro-skeptics in the British Labour Party, and the Socialist Party in the Netherlands wants the Dutch government to halt the ratification process.

What’s going on? Why has the European Union, for two generations the great wet dream of European socialism, suddenly become a bad idea?

I’m open to suggestions.

Hat tip: insubria.


livfreerdie said...

Maybe they realize that with a central socialist power their little "state" parties will become irrelevant, and also a lot of them in the process.


Ypp said...

That always was the fate of the left. Those who offered the ideas were later overcome by those who grabbed more power using their ideas. The "idealists" then go into opposition, claiming lack of democracy. Same happened with Russian Social-Democrats, Social-Revolutionaries, various types of oppositions within Bolshevik party itself. Now that's happening with Clinton supporters. They've lost their power and recalled democracy. Which is not bad, by the way. We all learn.

Anonymous said...

Will Turkey join the EU whether or not Lisbon or its equivalent passes? I wonder what, if anything, this referendum might have to do with the Greeks not wanting to be reconquered by Turks (legally) immigrating to Greece.

Henrik R Clausen said...

Randian, good points here :)

Turkey can't enter without Lisbon in place, or serious fudging of the voting rules set down in the Nice Treaty. Both, of course, are possible.

The Greek, like all of Balkans, historically have enough experience with the Turks to not want them in. If you look at a map of Europe and draft in opposition to Turkish membership, you'll find an interestingly clear correlation between historic experience with Turks and resistance to Turkish membership.

The Turkish minority in Trachia is trouble enough already, with Sharia courts and all.