We asked people in Greece and abroad what they will or would vote to Sunday’s referendum and why. These are the replies we have gathered:
Alain-Jacques L. 66, editor, France
“For years, the European construction is done against the people, in a denial of democracy. To Vote NO at the referendum, is not saying no to Europe as it is , on the contrary, it is confirming the supremacy of the sovereign people on technocracy and thus it requires current European leaders to come to the negotiating table, taking into account the popular vote . It is not, in any case, saying that Greeks want to leave the eurozone. Encouraging Greece by voting no, it’s saving , in fact, Europe”.
Encouraging Greece by voting no, it’s saving , in fact, Europe.
Nikolas G. 37, Greece
“I vote YES because I believe that we belong in the EU, that the benefits of being in the EU are more important than the obligations especially in the long run. I believe in going forward and in Greece being a part of a larger community and not being alone. The answer to the question “Does Greece belong in the West or the East” ? I say West = evolution, technology , culture and human rights”.
Thanasis K. 40, Greece
“(I will vote) NO, because this (often misunderstood) negative word is powerful enough to set an end to something torturing and start something new for a whole country. Historically, whenever it was said and meant it led humankind only to a better future”.
I will vote for YES, because I do not see any future for Greece outside the EU.
Alexandros M. 45, Director of Sales and marketing, Greece
I will vote for YES, because I do not see any future for Greece outside the EU. Despite the harsh austerity measures (which are mostly self-imposed after 35 years of wasting billions of EU money) I believe that we must find solutions and answers within the EU and not on our own .
Pascale Fr.49, real estate consultant, France
I would vote NO to the Greek referendum, without any doubt because people of the whole European Community should behave like their Greek Government, refusing to be slaves of financial interests. They have not built a social Europe but a Financial Europe, made for rich and capitalists, not for the people. They don’t care if people are suffering they just want to make profit. They are pitting the poor against one another. At some point, someone must say stop; We, the people are more powerful!
Regrettably, there is no simple choice, which will erase the suffering in this country.
Nikos V, 35, Private Sector Employee, Greece
I will vote YES. I step back from the storm of ideological arguments and I approach this issue pragmatically and without partisanship. Regrettably, there is no simple choice, which will erase the suffering in this country. Thus, I consider which result is the least hurtful option for the people of Greece.
I say YES in an effort to stay in the eurozone. While it is true, the European allies cannot directly kick us out, a NO result to the referendum will still surely lead to our withdrawal. The ECB will freeze the inflow of funds to the banks. Greece, unable to handle the currency, will be forced to exit the Euro. The results will be catastrophic.
My vote is also a reaction to the government’s dishonest promises to the poor and the needy, their vagueness and lack of reforms, the isolation of our country among its allies, and the tricks they use to conceal their failure to negotiate.
Some tell us that we are letting fear determine our decision, but not all fear is irrational. It is reasonable to fear for pensioners, business owners, children, all citizens, if the public votes NO.
If the outcome is unfavorable, Syriza can deny responsibility by saying: “It wasn’t our fault. We gave you the option and you chose it.” I’m not willing to give them that chance.
Ralf Hubert Gr. 46, Multimedia Artist , Belgian-Dutch
My vote: NO
The whole ‘crisis’ is not just a crisis which started in Greece, or is affecting Greece alone. Definitely tough reforms are necessary in Greece, but so are tough reforms needed for the whole European Union, as well. The crisis in Greece is in reality a crisis in the European Union. It shows the structural weaknesses of the EU. Lack of democracy, lack of good governance, lack of sustainable economic and social policies, too many back room deals and too much racism also between Europeans.
The crisis in Greece is in reality a crisis in the European Union.
A true Union of Europe can only be as strong as its weakest member. Currently, the structural deficits of Europe are fought over with the Greek people as chess pinions. A NO will probably lead at first to an even deeper crisis, as well for Greece as Europe, but I hope it will be used to reform the EU, as a whole, drastically and create a completely new approach to Greece.
An approach not just focused on paying back debts, but rather on reviving the Greek economy. Greece should not leave the Euro, it should be even stronger incorporated! It should be NO for all, who truly want Europe to unite, but not in the way it currently is!
Maria, age 33, Athens, Greece
I will vote YES. For a referendum to be held democratically, the government must meet some basic requirements: to pose a clear question, to give adequate time to consider the choices, and to maintain a sense of peace in society. None of these conditions have been fulfilled for the upcoming referendum.
People are asked to answer a simplistic yes or no, while living in a climate of deep polarization and division, without clarity regarding the meaning of each option.
The Tsipras government shifted the burden onto the Greek people, who within a week have witnessed the economy crumble, along with the country’s sense of national unity.
Cash reserves have dried up and EU partners affirm that a NO will kill any possibility of renegotiation.
This climate of tension makes it extremely difficult for the average Greek to take into account worrisome realities, such as the infiltration of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn, and the possible loss of being under the European umbrella. This has implications far deeper than currency and transnational alliances. It also raises concerns about the protection of labor rights, national security, environmental protection conditions, respect for human rights, etc. The Greeks cannot flee from their natural home of Europe. The Greek departure will not become a lesson of independence, but will dissolve the very ideals of the European Union itself. It will be a leap into the darkness for a nation that was misled by its passions and their leaders.
Because, ultimately, it’s about democracy against finance
Ralf W. 43, Journalist, France.
I would vote No.
Because, ultimately, it’s about democracy against finance. The IMF and the Eurogroup haven’t been trying to find a viable solution for the Greeks, but they are punishing them for voting Syriza. In just four years, the Greek deficit has gone from 12% a year to +1% surplus but the GDP has fallen by 25%. As a result the debt has doubled since the very first financial aids.
Now the financial structures want Greeks to have a 4% surplus for decades. It will not happen. It cannot be done. No country has ever managed that during a massive recession. The only solution when a public debt is so high is to restructure it. The Germans should know: they had theirs renegociated twice in the 20th century.
The Greek have done enough efforts, they have already suffered too much. Syriza isn’t responsible for the problem. But for the Europeans, its anti-austerity program mustn’t succeed. They have refused every compromise to Tsipras and they are even blaming him for consulting his people.
We must give time to the Greeks to rebuild their economy, let it grow again. The solution : no paybacks from Greeks for the next five years.
Examples from Argentina or Iceland show that countries are far better off without the IMF. If the EU lets the Greek down for financial problems, it’s the end of Europe. The Bank of Europe gives 60 billion euros every month to financial structures and it cannot give one or two to people in need ? This is a betrayal of our European values.
Dimitra M. 38, Athens, Greece
My “yes” is a loud and clear yes to Europe and the Eurozone – because, let’s face it, the referendum’s actual question is not even a valid question anymore, not since last Tuesday… Because a “no” future is unknown and -to my mind- bleak. Because otherwise we will be taking major leaps (not steps) backwards instead of forward. A “no” future would make Greece an even more vulnerable country. Vulnerability and uncertainty are not words that I would choose for my future.
By this “no” to the creditors’ program I vote yet to a more democratic Europe
Thomie M. 36 , Greece
I will vote for NO because I think that the creditors’ proposals are not efficient now more than they have been in the past. Deadly austerity is not necessary, as some believe, but it is catastrophic. By this “no” to the creditors’ program I vote yet to a more democratic Europe where all voices could be heard and listened and where all citizens could work together for a better society and life not just for the stronger, but for the weakest.
Kostas S. Athens, Greece
1.YES is the only option guaranteeing Greece to stay within the EU. Accepting an agreement with the institutions guarantees the survival of Greece’s banking system with the backing of the ECB. Unless, this happens in order for Banks to open, the likely alternatives are a. Issuing IOUs and entering a parallel currency status or b. Issue a new currency. Both alternatives would push Greece out of the EU according to the legal working paper from ECB (https://www.ecb.europa.eu/pub/pdf/scplps/ecblwp10.pdf, page 5) under which it is “inconceivable” for a member in the Eurozone to stop using the Euro and continue being in the union.
2. A no vote gives a thumbs up to the government of Greece. They have been in power for 1/8th of their term and they have only chaos to present as a result. Let’s forget the economy for a minute. Where is the progressive government or reforms that have promised?
3. Because the no argument is fundamentally weak. They say a no vote gives the Greece a negotiating edge. Based on what? And what if not? If the government is wrong: the economy shattered, outside the union, destruction. Worth the risk?
‘Yes’ means ‘yes’ to a predictable future
Eleni, 16, Greece:
If the right to vote – on my own future – was extended to me, I would vote ‘YES’. ‘Yes’ means ‘yes’ to Europe. ‘Yes’ means ‘yes’ to a predictable future (albeit a far less than perfect or easy one). ‘Yes’ means ‘yes’ to my generation, to my chance at a new beginning, to right the wrongs of the past. It may mean two more years of austerity. But a return to the drachma means at least two decades of unforeseeable, frightening darkness.The people need to realize that this is not a vote on a proposal, but a vote on staying in the Euro, or leaving it. And 75% of people would still opt to stay in the Euro. It is crucial that people understand what it is that they are voting on. At the end of the ‘Yes’ tunnel, there is a light, dim and wavering, but there is. At the end of the ‘No’ tunnel, there is nothing.