The Independent: The Gaping Hole At The Heart Of The EU – Its Lack Of Genuine Popular Legitimacy

referndum fever across Europe
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

From The Independent:

And now for Greece’s moment of truth. Or not, as the case may be. The effectively bankrupt country, its economy paralysed and its banks set to run out of cash on Monday, goes to the vote in a referendum that may determine its continuing membership of the euro, as well as the fate of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Syriza government. But no one knows what will happen. Only one thing is sure. More hardship beckons.

A Yes vote (to a bailout package that, incidentally, is no longer officially on the table) spells further austerity. A No vote could well bring a return to the former currency, the drachma, and generalised national impoverishment. Or, just conceivably, if the EU blinks in fear of a disintegration of the euro – even of the entire European project – a No majority might just be the key that unlocks the door to a deal…

…And now the referendum. When Tsipras announced it eight days ago, urging his countrymen to vote No, it briefly seemed like a potential masterstroke – what’s called here a “Hail Mary” pass, a last-ditch gamble by an American football quarterback to claim victory from seemingly inevitable defeat. Alas, the move now looks more like a dreadful miscalculation that makes a deal more unlikely, and that could force Prime Minister Tsipras to resign.

But by calling the vote, he has also rendered a massive service, reminding everyone of the gaping hole at the heart of the EU: its lack of genuine popular legitimacy.

Read the rest of Rupert Cornwell’s piece here.