Greece’s Overdue Default

Greek prime minister George Papandreou’s announcement that the country will hold a referendum on the European rescue deal came as an unpleasant surprise to many. Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of an informal group of European finance ministers, is dismayed that the decision was taken “without talking it through with his European colleagues.”

Well, that’s how democracy and sovereignty operate. The Greeks need to be allowed to make decisions about their future themselves. Arguably, the announcement marks the end of the deal negotiated by European leaders last week. Although it is far from obvious whether the referendum will be held or when, the ultimate outcome of the current turbulence is going to be a unilateral and unconditional default of Greece, and maybe its exit from the eurozone, regardless. And that would be a good outcome. In the end, these steps are long overdue, and the sooner they occur, the better.

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