Europe in Crisis
Across Greece this week (w/c 29th June 2015), banks will be closed and cash withdrawals limited to €60 (£42) ahead of the deadline for a €1.54 billion payment to be paid to the International Monetary Fund. The European Central Bank has already decided not to extend emergency funding, and the former bailout expires on the 30th June, the same day that the payment is due. The Greek Prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, has also called for a referendum on the terms of the new bailout deal. The referendum will ask the Greek people to decide on whether the terms offered by the creditors before negotiations broke down were accepted or not.
In reaction, European Stock markets have fallen sharply, with the Euro losing 2% of its value against the US dollar. The Greek people have been queuing at banks and ATMs around the country to withdraw what money they can. Most notably, pensioners who receive their pension at the end of the month and who tend to shun ATMs have been unable to access their accounts. Drivers were also concerned about the impact on the availability of fuel and headed to gas stations across the country, with the largest refiner prompted to allay fears by releasing a statement that it had enough fuel to supply. Supermarkets are also reporting a huge increase in panic buying, with newspaper reports commenting that Greeks have entered a “siege mentality”.
Along with the crisis in Greece, migration is also causing problems for the EU. Many people have crossed the Mediterranean from Africa and the Middle East, arriving in Italy, Greece and the Western Balkans. Italy wants the other member states of Europe to take their share of refugees in a compulsory scheme. Member states such as Bulgaria however have refused, with countries like Greece are facing their own financial difficulties making accepting refugees politically sensitive.
With Europe in crisis, those in support of Britain’s own exit may be buoyed. While the future is uncertain, if the institution can come through these latest problems, it may well be battle hardy enough to be more sustainable in the long term.