The answer is an unequivocal yes. However, the Greek prime minister’s humiliating treatment during recent negotiations in Brussels (admittedly, to an extent the result of his own mistakes and those of previous Greek governments) and the chill caused in several European countries by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble’s shock and awe strategy opened a wound that will not easily heal. A vindictive Europe that treats a member state as the enemy and forces it to choose between humiliation and suicide is probably not what supporters of European integration bargained for.
Furthermore, the image that Europe projects has not increased respect for the EU among its strategic competitors: European leaders spend endless hours resolving the problems of a member state that represented 1.3 percent of the EU’s GDP in 2014 only to impose recessionary policies that will barely allow Greece to stay alive but will not help the Greek economy recover.
It took repeated warnings from Washington to remind Europeans of the wider geopolitical ramifications of a Greek exit from the eurozone. And it took spirited resistance by France and a few other countries (as well as individual German politicians) to prevent a black page in Europe’s history. All this does not bode well for deeper European integration—whose need is stronger than ever.
Dr Thanos Dokos
This article was published on Carnegie Europe website