When discussing the European Union, it would be hard to escape discussing Greece and its financial situation. Greece has been in dire straits financially and has been at the epicenter of Europe’s financial crisis. With much debate and doubt surrounding Greece’s future with the EU, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has stated that “exiting the euro would be a ‘catastrophe’ for his country.”

Austerity, a word so popular in Europe that it became Merriam-Webster’s 2010 word of the year is once again at the center of the Greek Question.  Greece needs to cut 11.5 billion euros in spending to qualify for the next 33.5 billion euro installment of their 130 billion euro bailout package. Greece says it needs more time to make the cut–4 years instead of the original 2 years.

These financial troubles bring to light the legal issues concerning Greece’s relationship to the EU as a member state. Member states to of the EU enjoy a strong economic union but also sovereignty. Europe is now facing financial collapse and has forced Greece to go along with its austerity plans, which have been referred to by John Lauhgland as brinkmanship which is essentially a political game of chicken where one party forces an opposing party to make concessions by allowing volatile economic or political issues to reach a critical.  John Lauhgland writes that “the European political class, by issuing this warning, is trying to make it clear to the Greek voters that they have to choose the euro and they have to choose the austerity program.”  The European political class, continues to try and control the Greek electorate. The near future holds what a Greek expulsion from the Eurozone means for the stability of the European Union.

Greece’s future in Europe continues to look bleak. A prominent German politician, Rainer Bruederle,  has even stated that when this bailout has been paid in full, another one would not follow. This shows that Greece’s problem is a long term one, and there is no quick fix through a bailout; this isn’t General Motors, it is an entire country. Mr. Bruederle states that “We Germans are Helpful, but we’re not stupid.” In the words of George R.R. Martin, Winter is Coming for Greece, and we shall see if she can survive the long winter.

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