Greece: What next?

Anyone wish to enlighten–or just to speculate–as to what prompted Greek PM Alexis Tsipras to call a referendum to take place after the current financial lifeline is to run out?

I would have assumed–and may be totally wrong–that the package of reforms would pass parliament if he submitted it there. It would have been a spectacle to see a bloc of Syriza MPs vote against, and the measure pass with the help of New Democracy and Pasok, but that seems like what would have happened. Would Tsipras then be forced out by his own party?

I further would guess that the referendum itself will pass, given that Syriza itself won only 36% of the vote in the election in January (winning almost half the seats and able to lead a coalition due to the electoral system), and most of the other parties are more moderate (leaving aside the nazis of Golden Dawn, of course, who got around 7%). Of course, who knows what will happen to the outcome of the referendum if the week between now and then is as chaotic as now looks possible.

Did Tsipras call a referendum that may provoke a deeper, more devastating crisis for his country just to save his “radical left” credentials? That seems hard to believe, but I can’t figure out what the motivation could be otherwise.

I can’t help but think that amateurs running the Greek government have made a bad situation worse. Discuss…

44 thoughts on “Greece: What next?

  1. “I would have assumed–and may be totally wrong–that the package of reforms would pass parliament if he submitted it there.”

    What package of reforms?

    The package of reforms proposed by the greek government was rejected by the troika.

    The package of reforms proposed by the troika (it is this who will go to referendum) was rejected by the greek government.

    I imagine that the idea was share with the voters the responsibility of rejecting the proposals of the troika (instead of becoming him the only responsible of a decision that could exit Greece from the euro.

    “I further would guess that the referendum itself will pass, given that Syriza itself won only 36% of the vote in the election in January”

    Syriza is calling for a “no” vote

    • So what is the referendum on? I thought it was on the troika proposals.

      I know Syriza is calling for a no, but it represents only 36%. That’s what I meant: it (whatever “it” is) will pass, with Syriza able to say we tried to stop it. Then what? An early election? Or they govern to implement “the will of the voters”. But clearly that is getting way ahead the story to even speculate about after the “Greferendum”.

      But, as I said originally, I may have this all wrong!

      • “I know Syriza is calling for a no, but it represents only 36%. That’s what I meant: it (whatever “it” is) will pass, with Syriza able to say we tried to stop it. Then what?”
        Then the current government implementing the package, without the responsibility of having made the decision. It would leave the left wing of Syriza virtually powerless to do anything – after all, the people will have endorsed the package, and Syriza’s left wing wouldn’t have anything to gain from trying to undermine it. While if Tsipras compromised with the troika, his backbenchers might try to undermine the deal and/or replace him. If the people vote ‘no’, then the people endorse total rejection of austerity with no compromises. A victory for Syriza’s left-wing and perhaps Tsipras himself, if the ‘no’ vote is his sincere position.

        This is very much a classic referendum as external solution to a government’s internal divisions, like Britain’s 1975 EEC membership referendum. Labour was divided on the subject, though the leadership was moderately in favour of remaining. Getting a ‘no’ would have vindicated Labour backbenchers and been against the preferences of the cabinet, but at least it would end the disagreement. Getting a ‘yes’, as they did, also ended the disagreement, and the anti-EEC backbenchers had nothing to win by insisting, as the alternative government in the case of a snap election would be even more pro-EEC. And in any case, the end of the disagreement would be final, with the responsibility for the decision not being carried by anyone within the party, but by the people. Perhaps the main difference with the Greek government is the whole Greek government is ostensibly in favour of rejecting the deal. Either way, the lack of responsibility for the outcome is extremely useful. How can voters punish any politician for a decision not taken by him or his party, but by a majority of voters in a referendum?

      • I don’t know about the 36% figure. Remember, SYRZIA also has the backing of Independent Greeks, which has 5%. Also, the broad ‘anti-austerity’ movement calling for a No vote could include the KKE as well as members of other parties. SYRZIA’s polling has been all over the place recently, but, despite the crisis, it is generally above their election result.

  2. At this point the proposals appear academic. The Greek govt believes only some measure of debt relief can pull Greece out of the downward spiral. The rest of the EU disagrees, or at the very least can’t (or won’t) offer it.
    One thing to note though is that Syriza isn’t alone in its stand. The junior coalition partner the Independent Greeks has called for a no, as presumably will the KKE (though the latter is not the force it once was). Possibly even the Golden Dawn as well, though Syriza would hardly welcome it.
    I dont know what the state of the parties is right now but from what I understand the polls have been more favourable than not to the Tspiras approach.
    Whether that approach is right or wrong, Greece has been a basket case for some time now, so I guess there are plenty of people who feel like they may not have much to lose? Better they leave the EU and try to find some more self-reliant way forward than slide into fascism or indeed some sort of Chavism after even more austerity.

    • The KKE voted against the bill formally convoking the referendum, or so the Guardian’s live blog reported earlier. I don’t know what positions on the bill portend for paties’ positions on the referendum itself, but in addition to Syriza and Independent Greeks, Golden Dawn also voted for the bill.

      • The KKE is campaigning for a spoilt vote : “The KKE stresses that the people must not choose between Scylla and Charybdis, but must express, with all means available and in every way, their opposition to the EU and its permanent memoranda in the referendum. They must “cancel out” this dilemma by casting the proposal of the KKE as their vote into the ballot box.” http://fr.kke.gr/en/articles/The-referendum-on-the-5th-of-July-and-the-stance-of-the-KKE/

        Syriza, Independent Greeks and Golden Dawn are campaigning for a no vote ; the PASOK, To Potami and ND for a yes vote.

  3. I’m not sure Syriza had a lot of choice. The troika proposal was basically an invitation to set aside the Greek election result and govern as if Syriza were one of the dynastic parties. At the next election Syria would have been obliterated. Paul Krugman describes the troika offer as a reverse Corleone, an offer that cannot be accepted.

    Greece will leave the eurozone and probably the union itself. Northern Europeans will stop sitting on their hands long enough to throw them up in horror. But only briefly…

    • Syriza could have said no and faced the consequences. A referendum is a way of letting someone else make the choice and reduce if not eliminate the electoral consequences.

      • I would bet you quite a lot of uncollectable Greek debt that a referendum defeat will be followed quite quickly by an early election which Syria would almost certainly lose. The Syriza CYA argument simply does not work.

        The issue before the Eurogroup was not the acceptance or rejection of the troika proposals but Greece’s request for a postponement until the referendum is held. There was a bargaining process between unequal partners. The EU institutions assumed they would always win no matter what because Greece would have to accept their proposals.

        Of course we can criticise Syriza. When are we going to criticise the European institutions for promises that, on their face, are as unrealistic and inconsistent as Syriza’s? When are we going to wonder if the institutions are not trying just a little to conceal their stately bottoms from the public gaze?

        The EU institutions imposed austerity on Greece 5 years go. The indebtedness/GDP ratio has risen from 146 to 177.1. GDP has fallen 26%. Unemployment has risen from 11% to 26%. 5 years is rather a long time for the austerity program to have some beneficial effects. So far they been zero, zip, nada.

        One cannot, in the long run, analyse every political moment in terms of disdain for consulting the electorate. Sniffiness is not next to Godliness.

      • An early election? Called by whom? How? Why?

        When are you going to stop calling it imposition? If you’re up to your neck in debt, and I offer you a package in which I help you pay off the debt, and in return you change your lifestyle and finances in such a way that, in my opinion, will ensure that you are able to pay back your debts to your original creditors and to me, and you accept such a deal, how is that imposition?? Where is the coercion? The Greek government did not have a gun to their head. They could have defaulted five years ago, but they clearly did not see that as being in their interest, hence their acceptance of the bailout. Disagree with the desirability of the lifestyle changes all you want, but if you sign the contract freely there’s no imposition.

        5 years enough to show results? I don’t know where you get that from, and I might add that austerity ended six months ago, and that the original timetable did not envisage early elections in January.

        I think putting the question directly to the voters is fine: it finally puts voters face to face with the choice they need to make. If they vote ‘yes’ they can’t complain later that they never agreed to it. If they vote ‘no’ they directly say that retention of the euro is not really all that important to them, when weighed against the costs. It would certainly generate some helpful clarity for all parties involved.

      • Syriza can easily cause an election by resigning and declining to form a new government. The second and third parties get 3 days each and then the president of the republic must dissolve.

        The first of seven austerity packages was implemented by way of an MOU signed by Greece, the EU commission, ECB and the IMF on 19 Feb 2010. The eighth package is the one that was just collapsed. There is no need to repeat here the dreadful consequences of the troika’s obsession with fiscal reform at the expense of everything else, although some may think that unemployment at 25% and youth unemployment at 50% not a completely desirable lifestyle. I was unaware that austerity stopped some months ago but I’m happy to be corrected if you have a citation.

        Debt is not sacred. Governments have repeatedly engaged in debt write downs since the time of Hammurabi. Since 1914 Germany has twice been granted a general debt haircut by the international community in the 1920s and again in the 1950s. It seems strange that Germany places itself in a disastrous economic posture for the worst of reasons twice in one century and then condemns Greece whose indebtedness was, while not blameless, somewhat less reprehensible than Germany’s.

        The sad joke is that there is minimal support for the austerity plans of the EU institutions among economists, both left and right. Even the IMF itself admits there is no correlation between fiscal balance and economic performance.

        So yes, Greece was overspending, but not by all that much. It was over indebted, but again not by all that much. How did this turn into a catastrophe that among other things saw debt soar to 170 percent of GDP despite savage austerity?
        The euro straitjacket, plus inadequately expansionary monetary policy within the eurozone, are the obvious culprits. But that, surely, is the deep question here. If Europe as currently organized can turn medium-sized fiscal failings into this kind of nightmare, the system is fundamentally unworkable.

        The story of virtuous lenders and vicious borrowers is not only untrue, but is actually risible. Googling the terms ‘Juncker’ and ‘corruption scandal’ is not uninstructive. The EU has a gaping democratic deficit that, among other things, rewards leaders who refuse to think and creditors who think their cause sacred. Krugman calls this a balance of payments crisis but it is not. It is an unworkable institutional design backed only by comforting fantasies about virtue and vice.

      • Again, why? Why would they call a new election?

        No, the huge unemployment caused by having a high currency an an inflexible labour market is not good. Fixing those things would help. The obsession with maintaining the Euro, which was clearly a mistake to begin with, is very destructive. By defaulting and leaving Greece could make progress far more easily. It’s a shame new bailouts keep being offered. Both debtor and creditor should be allowed to face the consequences of their actions.

        Of course, if ‘ending austerity’ means increasing spending back to how high it was before, then Greek austerity hasn’t been ended. But many of the further reforms that were under way have been frozen or begun to be turned around. Of course, with little money on hand and the only real offer of such money being predicated on continuing the reforms, Syriza hasn’t succeeded in increasing public sector salaries and other spending, although they have managed such (admittedly small) steps as reviving the state broadcaster.

        Debt is sacred? No, indeed it isn’t. You will find I don’t engage in telling fairy tales about anyone’s virtue or blame for the debt or for the lending (I certainly don’t defend the deeply corrupt EU or its leaders and their obsession with maintaining their destructive and undemocratic projects). Incentives were poor and they were, understandably, followed. We shouldn’t be sitting around evaluating blame and virtue and pointing finger at who was at fault, but at which policies were at fault for producing the poor incentives and how the effects can be rolled back.

      • Is the lack of political courage precisely where we think it is? Because debt relief seems ineluctable, and not just for the Greeks. That will be expensive, and deeply unpopular, but rolling from crisis to crisis like this is unsustainable in itself. But nobody, and I think for understandable reasons considering no country in the EU is particularly flourishing, wants to be the one to say it, because it would be political suicide in many countries.

      • Syria’s only alternative to the referendum is to Go PASOK. Sadly my magnifying glass is broken so I am unable to look up PASOK’s current electoral standing.

        Don’t commit suicide for fear of dying’.

        Can anyone doubt these immortal words of Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European commission, will stand eternally equal beside the Gettysburg address, Mandela’s speech to the Rivonia trial, the Babylon charter of Cyrus the Great, the Four Freedoms speech of FDR? Could anyone be so crass as to question the rhetorical value of addressing these words to a nation where it is estimated that the troika project has resulted in 11000 suicides?

        From the Primer:.

        Greece should have defaulted in 2010. Its debt burden then was unsustainable and nothing since then has changed this. It is true that financial markets were much more jittery at that time, but the money that was raised to pay off the creditors in that bailout could have been diverted to support Greece and other weak countries. Once the bad rescue of 2010 was undertaken, it was inevitable that some form of debt relief was going to be necessary.
        Imagine how different the political dynamics in Europe would have been if the German and French banks had been explicitly bailed out.

        The debt relief so far has been restricted to private creditors but the vast majority oft he debt is no longer owed by private creditors. The vast majority of the money outlaid by the troika has gone not to Greece but to private creditors, most of them resident in the EU surplus economies. The troika project is not supported by academic economists, by the US treasury or by anyone except the EU leadership. The IMF has admitted its analysis of the prospects of success in 2010 was not just wrong, but drastically wrong. The recovery projections of the troika have been not just wrong, but drastically wrong.

        Writing in the Daily Telegraph, not precisely a bastion of radical economics, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard says:

        But do the proponents of this establishment view – and one hears it a lot – really think that Podemos can be defeated by crushing Syriza, or that they can discourage Marine Le Pen by violating the sovereignty and sensibilities of a nation?
        Do they think that the EU’s ever-declining hold on the loyalty of Europe’s youth can be reversed by creating a martyr state on the Left? Do they not realize that this is their own Guatemala, the radical experiment of Jacobo Arbenz that was extinguished by the CIA in 1954, only to set off the Cuban revolution and thirty years of guerrilla warfare across Latin America? Don’t these lawyers – and yes they are almost all lawyers – ever look beyond their noses?
        The Versailles victors assumed reflexively that they had the full weight of moral authority on their side when they imposed their Carthiginian settlement on a defeated Germany in 1919 and demanded the payment of debts that they themselves invented. History judged otherwise.

        The original Carthaginian settlement sort of worked. It also destroyed the Roman republic.

  4. Once it got to this point, I think the referendum is a clever CYA move by Tsipras. If the voters support the troika’s package, then they themselves will be responsible for the fact that their own government will not be doing what it promised in the election. if the voters reject the package, then Syriza will not be blamed for Grexit. Again, the voters will have made their own choice. Mandate trumps leadership.

    I absolutely agree that Syriza, predictably, have revealed themselves to be absolute amateurs. But they won the election by promising the impossible. Once it came time (assuming no more extensions) to face up to that truth, they essentailly decided to let the the voters make the choice between Scylla and Charybdis. This might be undoing the election (while leaving Syriza to enjoy the benefits of office, if not policy) or, if the voters choose to go down with the ship, it will be a reaffirmation of the election – the voters saying, “yes, we really are that crazy.”

    • Syriza, in the general election campaign, certainly promised the impossible: an end to austerity while remaining in the euro. So, yes, CYA, whatever the outcome.

  5. I guess the whole approach of “kick it to the voters and cover our own posteriors” motivation would have made more sense to me if they had made sure this referendum would happen before June 30. That they waited this long reinforces my suspicions that it’s either just amateur hour in the Greek government or else it’s all about clinging to the steering wheel as the ship goes down. Of course, these last two motivations are not mutually exclusive.

    • a) Until last week, they probably had a bit of hope that the other side will accept their proposals

      b) They had to gain the maximum of time before the open break of negotiations, for the greeks have time to take the most possible cash from the banks before the ECB cut the ELA mechanism.

    • I don’t think I’ve ever seen a referendum ballot paper where No is above Yes. I don’t know what Greek practice is for referendums, but it seems rather suspicious that the outcome SYRIZA wants is presented in this way.

      • I don’t think there is anything *rather* suspicious about it! Though it may be that in such situations government generally don’t call for a no vote in referenda they organise?

    • The referendum clearly does not meet the most basic standards. It has been heavily criticised by the Council of Europe for not meeting their nonbinding standards which demand a minimum campaign period of 2 weeks. (in my view the CoE standard is also woefully deficient) Obviously Syriza is responsible for the confusing form of the question and the ridiculous 7 day campaign period.

      I do not think Syriza bears sole blame for the short campaign period. If the campaign period had been 2 weeks the troika would have ended fiscal support, The issue for the troika is not the details of the bailout, it is the existence of a government prepared to demand renegotiation.

      How game theory explains Grexit and may also predict Greek poll outcome

      Imagine that the Greek government is placed at the edge of a precipice, restrained by a chain that is tied to its ankle and then fastened to the ankle of the troika.

      Both will be rescued and only one of them will win a large prize (read vain-glory) as soon as the other rolls over. Thomas Schelling posited that each party has only one method to persuade the other to give in – namely, threatening to push the other off the precipice.

      The threat is not credible since a big push will ensure doom for both. A big push is thus nothing but collective lunacy. Yet each side has an incentive to dance recklessly close to the precipice to convince the other that one is stupid enough to embrace a higher risk to create an accidental annihilation of both.

      The IMF has at least had the grace to admit its original analysis was wrong and that the troika’s claims about the impact of their policies have been badly wrong. The EU members of the troika are not even that honest.

      Youth unemployment of 60%. 1 million households whose only income is a grandparents’ pension. Another million households dependent one remittances from the Greek diaspora. A flight of youth and talent to other countries. As far away as Australia, Greek immigration is approaching levels not seen here since the 1970s when the colonels ruled.

      Default or devaluation would have worked in 2010. The troika, and the design flaws of the Eurozone, have converted a balance of payments crisis into something approaching societal collapse.

      • Perhaps I’m not your average voter, but I actually found the referendum question, though unnecessarily detailed, relatively straightforward… What exactly is supposed to be confusing about it?

    • jd

      I don’t think the question accurately describes the decision being made. The fundamental issue is debt restructure and I’d be a lot happier with a question that asked a mandate to seek debt restructuring rather than referring to specific documents written in impenetrable bureaucratese.

      In a similarly dire situation in 1992 white South Africans were asked: ‘Do you support continuation of the reform process which the State President began on 2 February 1990 and which is aimed at a new Constitution through negotiation?’. The South African question is still fairly opaque but at least it sort of described the decision the electorate was making.

      If NO passes, which I suspect it will not, the troika will almost certainly argue that the mandate applies only to those specific documents and redraw them with minor changes.

      Putting NO before YES on the ballot paper is strange, but probably peripheral.

      Sadly, we cannot exclude the possibility that if NO were to pass the troika would simply demand a further referendum.

      • Demand a further referendum? Unless the Greek government really wants a bailout, which they don’t seem to, I can’t see what leverage the European authorities would have over Greece to get them to hold one.

      • Ireland has held repeated referendums until they got it right, first on the treaty of Nice, then on the European constitution. had Ireland rejected (as they came close to doing) the Fiscal Compact referendum I’d guess there would have been a second vote on that as well. There was considerable, if unsuccessful, pressure on France and the Netherlands to hold second referendums on the European constitution.

        I think it’s interesting the Eurozone has been tested by referendum on 2 previous occasions and went down by 87.6% in Denmark and 81.2% in Sweden. Britain has never joined the Eurozone and one obvious impact of this disaster is that the UK referendum on leaving the EU entirely is beginning to look like a foregone conclusion. Equally if the EU does a reverse South Carolina and secedes from Greece we can then expect speculative attacks on the fiscal position of the remaining deficit economies in the Eurozone.

        The present Greek government wants a bailout that includes debt restructuring. So far the troika has spent around 1 trillion, very little of it in Greece itself, to resolve a 70 billion debt. That seems quite a high bill to ensure that government of the creditors, by the creditors, for the creditors does not perish from the earth.

      • Lisbon was different. The national government didn’t like the results, and that was probably the main reason it went back to the electorate (other than the deteriorating state of the economy). I am yet to find a case where the European Union were able to force multiple referendums on the same issue despite the opposition of the national government.

      • The Fiscal Compact treaty required that Eurozone members had to ratify as a condition of remaining in the common currency. If the treaty had been rejected by referendum Ireland would have had to leave the euro area. Ireland was at that time dependent on an 83 billion bailout by the EU that would have ended on its departure from the euro area.

  6. I don’t have any particular desire to debate the policy battle itself (although others should feel free), but I will note that, as far as I understand it, the creditors already took a substantial “hair cut” some years ago.

    Plus a couple of resources on the economics side (posted not because I necessarily endorse the conclusions, but because I found them worthwhile to read):

    Kindred Winecoff at Duck of Minerva.

    A Primer on the Greek Crisis: the things you need to know from the start until now, on his research-papers website at University of Chicago, Booth School of Business.

  7. I think all the talk of blame at this point is absurd because it presupposes something for which there is zero evidence: that a “compromise” package at least minimally acceptable to all involved parties could have been negotiated. It’s awfully difficult to blame either side for failing to achieve the impossible.

    I think the referendum is a brilliant move by Tsipras not just in a CYA sense, but also in passing a bailout. There was just no way a bailout would get through the current Vouli, but a Yes vote would make it very hard for the Syriza caucus to block it. Meanwhile, a no vote would let Tsipras use Greece being “forced out” of the Euro as a political tool while blaming ND and PASOK for putting them in that situation in the first place. They may have a difficult road ahead but switching to the drama would allow Syriza to implement the Left’s long-desired structural changes in a way that would be impossible under the EMU, all while being able to use “no other option” as a justification.

    Now, whether this has actually been Tsipras’ plan from the beginning, whether he legitimately thought he could compromise and now has moved on, or whether the referendum represents a washing of the hands and he has no plan, I couldn’t tell you, but ultimately I see this week’s turn of events as a win for Tsipras either way.

  8. Its being reported now that the Greek government may actually call off the referendum if it gets concessions on renegotiation (latest polls are showing the No still ahead but trending down, and Tsipras’ approval has dipped below 50%.)

    Is Tsipras an aficianado of the madman theory? Yannis Varoufakis is a game theorist, after all…

    • There was a note on the Guardian live blog a couple of days ago in which the speaker of the Greek parliament was quoted as saying that there was no mechanism for calling off a referendum. I do not know what Greek law actually says about the question. On the other hand, given that Greek law, at least according to some sources, prohibits calling a referendum on this topic and with short notice, it probably does not matter what the law says about canceling a referendum.

  9. On the legality of the referendum. I doubted it, but the Council of State and the Constitutional Court both turned down petitions against it today. I have no reason to believe these institutions are biased, and so that settles it. The referendum is legal. I find that incredible, but I’m not claiming any qualifications to interpret the Greek constitution.

    (Via the Guardian)

  10. I think both the economic catastrophe in Greece and the migration catastrophe in the Mediterranean result directly from both the poor design of the common currency and more generally, from an appalling democratic deficit in the Union itself. As a thought-experiment let us imagine a United States that a adopted European structures.

    1. Both presidency and senate would be abolished. The functions of the presidency would be divided between a council of governors with qualified majority voting, an informal but effective veto for the 2 or 3 largest economies among the states, and an unelected commission. The house of representatives would have a strictly limited role in appointing the commission.

    2. Most laws would originate in the council of governors by right. The house of representatives would be restricted to approving laws passed by the council or asking the commission to prepare a bill. In some areas of law the house of representatives would be restricted to making recommendations to the council, which could act alone. A limited class of laws would require the approval of the state legislatures.

    3. The governors could at any time supersede the constitution by enacting a new constitution, although they would need the consent of all governors. Perhaps one or two states would dare to hold referendums but the council of governors would be sternly disapproving.

    4. Representation of states by population in the house would be abandoned in favour of a rather silly formula with the grand name of digressive proportionality.

    5. There would be only an unenforceable bill of rights, subject to supersession by the governors.

    6. The entire structure would be opaque to the point of actual incomprehensibility and the supreme court would be rather limited in tis ability to enforce the constitution.

    Is it possible to imagine anyone arguing in favour of such a constitution?

    • MSS, maybe the argument is that though the constitution has special provisions for calling a referendum, it does not explicitly rule instituting an ad-hoc referendum by law?

      • I’d love to see the ruling in English, or even a good summary of it.

        In the meantime, the very brief Wikipedia note will have to do: “The court’s decision was that the referendum is within the jurisdiction of the government and the court has no authority on the issue, thus rejecting the claim.”

        The footnote to that sentence is to a Greek article. The Google translate is, predictably, not easy to decipher, but it seems the Council of State simply claimed that it lacked jurisdiction. That’s strange, but apparently it simply did not want to handle the hot potato.

        There appears to be a link to the decision itself, but it is to a DOCX file to download, and therefore Google Chrome won’t translate it.

    • Well yes, considering that what we have now is essentially what was proposed for the EU Constitution and later implemented through the Lisbon treaty. So the vast majority of all European politicians were emphatically arguing in favour of this some time over the last 20 years. Go figure. If the Philadelphia convention had produced a document half as detailed in language that was a third as dense and technical, they would doubtless have been tarred and feathered.

      By the way, ALL laws have to originate in the Commission. Most laws are currently passed by ‘co-decision’ between the parliament and the council, and so usually the parliament has full right to amend and insist on amendments.

      • For more on the Legislative powers of the European Parliament. Be warned. This incisive document begins…

        Parliament asserts its institutional role in European policy-making by exercising its various functions.

        …and from there the style goes down hill. It does identify ordinary legislative procedure (formerly known as co-decision) co-operation procedure, consultation procedure and assent procedure.

      • I guess a more interesting question is what changes would one make to cure the democracy deficit? What would be the outcome of a Philadelphia moment in Europe? After all it seems a much more joyful speculation than watching the current train wreck.

    • One shouldn’t forget-to get the correct flavour, introducing 24 official or working languages as well…

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