Debt and democracy: Greeks caught between Scylla and Charybdis

ODYSSEUS was forced to choose between two routes for his ship – one that passed close to a sea monster (Scylla) and another that skirted a whirlpool (Charybdis). For a while, Greeks have effectively faced a similar choice – between austerity (as conditions for assistance from its creditors) and leaving the euro. Asking them explicitly to make this choice in a referendum might seem fair enough.The problem is that this choice has never been made explicit. Syriza came to power on a programme on ending austerity and keeping the euro. Months of negotiations with creditors have shown this option is not available. But the planned referendum, if it occurs, does not make this clear; instead the question will beGreek people are hereby asked to decide whether they accept a draft agreement document submitted by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, at the Eurogroup meeting held on June 25.Clearly, the government will campaign for the answer No. As my colleague wrote earlier today, this is dangerous brinkmanship. Greek funding runs out on June 30 (Tuesday). Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, asked for an extension of emergency assistance to allow the referendum to take place. The eurogroup statement issued this afternoon appears (there might be some wriggle room) to rule this outSince the 20 February 2015 agreement of the …

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