Euroskeptics Sympathetic as Greeks Vote Down Austerity

Euroskeptics see the Greek “no” as a vindication of their long-held doubts about the euro.

Syed Kamall, the British leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists, makes a speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, June 10
Syed Kamall, the British leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists, makes a speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, June 10 (European Parliament)

Euroskeptics were sympathetic in their response to the Greek “no” vote on Sunday, seeing it as a vindication of their long-held doubts about the euro currency.

Syed Kamall, the British Conservative who leads the European Parliament’s third largest bloc, the European Conservatives and Reformists, said the Greek bailout referendum “will shake the notion of some European leaders who believe that the peoples of European nations will always blindly vote for further integration and will always take rather than leave the offer on the table.”

He called on European leaders not to “punish” the Greeks for their “democratic choice.”

More than 60 percent of Greeks voted down their creditors’ latest offer for a bailout extension on Sunday in a referendum that was seen in the rest of the European Union as a test of their commitment to the single currency. In the days leading up to the vote, European officials had warned that a “no” vote could lead to Greece’s ejection from the euro.

Nigel Farage, the United Kingdom Independence Party leader who has his own group in the European Parliament, commended the Greeks for “calling the EU’s bluff.”

It’s fantastic to see the courage of the Greek people in the face of political and economic bullying from Brussels.

Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s Front national, said the “no” vote was a “victory of the people against the European oligarchy.”

It’s a “no” of freedom, of rebellion against European orders that want to impose their common currency at any price, through the most inhumane and counterproductive austerity.

The Netherlands’ Geert Wilders, whose Freedom Party groups with Le Pen in Brussels, similarly wrote on Twitter, “This is the beginning of the end of the EU(RO) project.”

But he also said Greece should be promptly ejected from the eurozone rather than allow Dutch taxpayers to pour more bailout money “into a bottomless pit.”

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