THE first half of 2015 may give us a glimpse of the future direction of Europe. We have elections in a struggling state which received a bailout, another which was a reluctant contributor to the bailout, an enthusiastic new entrant to the union and an important country with a history of Euro scepticism. This wide variety of member states will give us an idea which way the political winds are blowing.
THE first election is set for 25 January and takes place in Greece. This is receiving attention because the future of the common currency is at stake. The current largest party in parliament, New Democracy, is in favour of sticking to the bailout terms. The current leader of the polls, Syriza, wants to renegotiate the terms.
IN THE past Syriza has suggested leaving the euro and returning to the drachma. Such a scenario is unprecedented, so if it were to happen we have no idea what to expect. Could there be runs on the banks of other countries such as Spain, which would then force them to withdraw from the currency union, too?
POLITICS change faster than the weather, but at this point it seems very unlikely that the left-leaning Syriza will not win. I doubt that Syriza would do anything as rash as leaving the euro, but they will push for a renegotiation of the bailout terms (which they are right to do). A more interesting backdrop of this is the changing attitude of the Greek people. They have lost faith in their leaders and their place in the union.
OUR close neighbours in Estonia will vote in early March. The right-leaning Estonian Reform Party currently has the most seats in parliament, and they are also leading the polls. Estonia is doing relatively well in comparison to the rest of Europe and Estonians see no need to drastically change their leadership.
David J. Cord
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