What is the Greek Referendum and what does it mean for Greece and the EU?

Original content created by Lina Abisoghomyan

Photo Credit: CBS

The Players

The Greek people- the people of Greece have been struggling greatly lately. With limited access to liquid currency, and with banks downright closing down, panic has ensued. Business owners are struggling, and day-to-day life has become unpredictable. Still, many vote no... and with happiness. The people viewed the European ultimatum as a form of anti-democratic intimidation, and joyfully took to the streets when the referendum failed 61% to 39%.

The Greek government- Greek Prime minister Alexis Tsipras called the Greek people brave, and dubbed the failed referendum a victory for democracy. Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis also urges the international community to respect the Greek people's decision, explaining that as the government elect it is their job to carry out the peoples' will.

European governments- the overall message is of clear solidarity; it is not in the best interest of any European actor for the Greek crisis to continue, and so all EU country leaders urge Greece to come up with a feasible plan in order to resolve the crisis. Meetings are occurring amongst top European leaders like French President François Holland and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Photo Credit: The Telegraph


The Background

A seemingly simple yes or no question decides the fate of Greece: yes to stringent austerity  measures in a long-delayed repayment plan, in exchange for financial aid and debt relief or.... no. The story starts well back, in 2008, with a financial crisis that caused Greece to rack up debt. Then rack up some more, again, in 2010. After yet a third bailout from multiple donors in 2012, Greece's debt extended from just the EU to the European Central Bank and IMF, creating an even larger rift. However, when it came time to collect that money to pay it back, Greece was understandably reluctant to impose certain very austere austerity measures that included cuts in pensions, job layoffs, and less in social security. 

Photo Credit: Blogspot


The Story

The current situation is an extension of the efforts to repay this 242.8 billion euros ($271 billion). Tsipras, the leftist Syriza party  Prime Minister that came to power in January, has brought the people on board to vote on the situation. Currently, the Greek government is proposing even tougher measures that include some similar to those in the initial EU referendum. European leaders praise these efforts, dubbing them proof of Greece's determination to stay in the Eurozone, but it truly seems to defeat the final purpose of the joy in voting out the EU's proposal. 

Thumbnail photo credit: Telegraph