Greek opinion polls over the weekend showed a shift among voters toward support for country’s membership of the euro zone. From the polls, you might think the June 17 general election has become nothing more than a referendum on euro membership. The closer we get to the vote, the starker the choice facing Greeks seems to become. The Telegraph’s headline on this story, “Greeks will choose to stay in the euro, opinion polls say,” reflects as well as any how the media have polarized the options: does Greece stay or does it go?
However, even the supposedly anti-euro parties in Greece don’t want to be on the losing side of this debate – and they are trying to move the debate away from euro membership and toward austerity measures and renegotiating the terms of the Greek bailout. Rena Dourou, a member of parliament for Synapismos, the main component of anti-euro party Syriza, said in Le Monde that a return to the drachma would be a catastrophe. No major Greek party appears to be advocating a euro exit any more.
New Democracy’s Antonis Samaras has been describing the effects of exiting the euro in vivid terms: expect an extreme drop in the value of property and a spike in inflation that “no democracy can tolerate.” Not much of a choice then, as a majority of Greeks seem to have realized.