The outcome of the Greek elections may well hold the key to the EU's survival as European leaders struggle to find common ground and workable solutions for fiscal unity.
Greece is the cradle of Democracy and, characteristically, in the modern world it has played yet another central role, becoming the catalyst which may undo the vision that was the EU.
Greeks, this weekend, will be voting on the fate of Greece and that of the EU alongside it. The stakes could not be any higher. The effectiveness of the European Union’s monetary union, a bold attempt to create a borderless, single market and the world’s next dominant trading block, had always been questioned by the sketchy ideas on how to create a fiscal union. Without the ability to harmonize banking systems and practices across member nations the experiment would be likely to experience turbulence.
The EU gambled on its ability to weather that turbulence long enough for it to work out the sovereignty issues raised by a fiscal union. Now it would appear its time has ran out. The Greek elections, this weekend, will raise the issue of a member nation leaving the Euro and possibly the EU or will force the EU to re-visit the way it deals with member-state debt. Either way it will need to take action which may make or break the Union.
At the moment Germany, a key player in any move towards fiscal harmonization, wants to have its cake and eat it staying away from suggestions of Eurobonds designed to edge towards a banking union. The fact remains that the EU, if it is to survive, cannot long afford to avoid the issue.
The Greek debt crisis is now the epicentre around which the rifts in the EU have become more obvious than the similarities. An online poll ran by The Economist showed that the majority of respondents believe that European leaders, in the end, will do whatever it takes to help the EU survive the Euro and remain intact. Other analysts, like Michael Schuman writing in Time magazine, are not so sure. The fact is that the Greek elections may well sound the bell that the EU and its leaders have ran out of time.