DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV.com PLC.
Demetres Karavellas is the director of WWF Greece.
In Europe, the public disbelief in the promises of its leaders for sustainable solutions and fresh air to its suffocating economy is obvious: people’s trust in the EU, now at around 33%, has plummeted during the years of the economic crisis. Recurring parts of this unprecedented European crisis, such as Greece’s debt overhang and prolonged austerity nightmare, can only deepen citizens’ distrust in their leaders.______________________
The EU’s response to the eurozone crisis has created divisions in identity among member states, particularly between the North and the South, the “rich” and the “poor”. So here’s the question: in these challenging times of crisis, does it make sense to reduce the union of Europe to fiscal indicators and austerity policies?
Greece is not the only EU economy in deep debt troubles: according to the 2016 “Debt Sustainability Monitor”, 11 member states, other than Greece, are in high debt sustainability risk.
The country’s public debt, currently at around 177% of GDP, can hardly be considered sustainable. At the same time, the harsh fiscal adjustment programs now running in their seventh year are already having a huge impact on society, environment and the prospects of the economy itself.