European Democracy: among lack of leadership and accountability


The term Democracy is originated in Greece and means “power of the people”. A correct democratic system has participative mechanisms that legitimate political representatives actions. The last Greek referendum supposes the correct exercise of this system, in the form of direct democracy, in which citizens have the opportunity to get an active participation in the political decision-making process. However, we get to a surrealistic point in which a normal democratic mechanism is associated to left-wing positions from people who do not get responsibility of their public spending and go against an imposed unsuccessful financial model.

Introduce an ideological political concept to a financial model is outrageous. Austerity vs investment is a financial-political debate that applies to any political model. To adopt the defence of any of this positions as a way to get benefit to political parties’ interests is an offense to the own roots of democracy and bring hypocrisy and confusion to the real debate. Transparency is key to keep a fair level of debate and get to a successful way out.

To reduce public spending, there is no just one option but many, some of them contradictories in itself as austerity and investment, but any of them suppose an ideological political position but a financial option that goes beyond political parties. In the case of austerity it has left enough evidence that it doesn´t work. Debt rates of 95 and 132% GDP in Spain, France and Italy respectively show it clearly. Greece raised it´s debt from 100 to 180% GDP. In the context of an economic growth of no more than 2%. Under the present lack of leadership of European creditors, and failure in bases knowledge of financial strategy is not only logical but also foreseeable that a country go back to the essence of it s mandate and call for a legitimation of their acts.

In this tyranny scenario created by European creditors there is no accountability and it seems that no rights to ask for renewal of political representation and their decisions. Instead the EU is transforming in a dictatorship of proven ineffective decisions with no strategic vision neither leadership. Is that the way the EU pretends to move forward? Stiglitz pointed out : “It is startling that the troika has refused to accept responsibility for any of this or admit how bad its forecasts and models have been. But what is even more surprising is that Europe’s leaders have not even learned”. 6 years after the Eurozone institutionalized those relationships, is the antithesis of democracy..”. [1]

The idea of moving forward towards a regional Union is to joint action with the partial resignation of sovereignty that supposes, in the sense of achieving better living standards for it´s citizenship and definitely not to resign to democratic principles.

Follow suit that European institutions could be submitted to direct democracy systems means that representatives are accountable and responsible of their decisions. Accept the supremacy of supranational decisions should not suppose the loose of criteria and accountability for those decisions, particularly when there is clear evidence of the failures on their strategy. Countries like Greece, Spain or Italy have been submitted to budgetary restrictions under the common goal of fulfilling debt requirements and also to boost the countries into a path of sustainability growth. None of this has happening and rates of unemployment over 20%, or debt in GDP over 100% makes it clear that policies are mistaken.

Financial institutions not only have the responsibility of making countries fulfilled their debts for the stability of the whole Europe, but to adjust, adapt, advise and guide the political-social process that goes parallel to financial process.

We need leaders aware of their political, ethical and moral mission towards the own stability of each country member of the EU. As J. Sachs brilliantly described it: “…creditors in this instance are not a bunch of oligarchs or wealthy private bankers, but the governments of the other Eurozone countries, democratically accountable to their own electorates”.[2]  Failing of the correct follow-up of the process, not advising correctly and making the wrong financial strategy decisions, focused just on austerity as the panacea of all the diseases was a big mistake and a no democratic attitude of this leaders.

Part of a successful leadership is to be able to be flexible and adapt to new challenges, to assure democratic roots of transparency, accountability and a correct representation of people´s will. That is the real power that helps on the path for a sustainable growth. When one of those roots is broken is just a disguised dictatorship that does not represent people´s interests.

Lack of political ethical attitudes confirm this idea: “Dijsselbloem, president of the Eurogroup to Varoufakis: “drop any demands for debt restructuring or your loan agreement will crash” [3]

Debt‪ relief should be always part of the package not just now, as Europe´s finance structure has a social and political mission that goes beyond. Under the general principle that debt restructuring is a duty not a concession. As J. Sachs has mentioned: “to manage Europe’s crisis on the basis of national political prejudices rather than a rational approach to problem-solving”. [4]

The devastating reality living by Greek people is just a sign of what will happen to the rest of European countries if there is not a new path that brings light to this negative leadership and unsuccessful decision-making process.  

Globalization has brought huge advantages but also terrible financial impacts that need to be addressed by stronger policies and a closer look at people´s will. We have entered in this folly of believing that if a country makes a referendum or is against certain economic measures it reflects left-wing ideologies. Direct participation of the people in decision-making process and positions against inefficient financial models are acts of democracy with any defined ideology behind. In fact, is it in the own interest of political parties to defend principles of democracy as a way to defend properly their rights and be actively part of a political free democratic system.

When a financial model doesn’t work is imperative to change it´s strategy, first by knowledge then by leadership and of course accountability and responsibility, as main elements for a correct exercise of democracy.





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