This interview with Gerassimos Moschonas— on European democracy, Euroscepticism, and the Greek Left — was conducted by Ioulia Livaditi and Nikolas Nenedakis and first published in Rethinking Greece.
Moschonas is currently an associate professor in comparative politics in the Department of Political Science and History, Panteion University of Political and Social Sciences in Athens. He is the author of In the Name of Social Democracy: The Great Transformation: 1945 to the Present and has written widely on European intergration, social democracy, and the Greek crisis.
One of the central findings of a nation-wide survey, recently conducted by diaNEOsis foundation under your supervision, is the consolidation of a new kind of Euroscepticism in Greece. How does this trend relate to similar trends in the rest of Europe?
Up until the crisis of 2009, Greece was a markedly pro-EU country. Since the onset of the 2009 crisis, however, a significant shift has been documented in the findings of the Eurobarometer and explored in greater depth in the Dianeosis survey and Dianeosis focus groups. Greece, a country that was at the forefront of pro-Europeanism, is now bringing up the rear. Whilst there is still majority support for remaining in the EU and the Eurozone, almost all other indicators (approval of European policies, trust in EU institutions, perception of benefit from Greece’s participation in the EU, etc.) have either declined dramatically or totally collapsed. On the traditional axis of pro-Europeanism and Euroscepticism, Greece is now among the most Eurosceptic EU countries. Disapproval of European institutions and policies is even greater than in Great Britain, a country that is often considered the paradigm of Euroscepticism and recently voted in favour of Brexit.
Gerassimos Moschonas, author of In the Name of Social Democracy, reflects on Syriza's strategy over the course of the negotiations, including what its achievements and failures reveal about possibilities for challenging European austerity. This piece was originally published in Telos, 22 May 2015.
The Associate Professor of Comparative Political Analysis at the Athens Panteion University’s Department of History and Political Science and author of In the Name of Social Democracy assesses Syriza's journey to government.
No European country has been plunged so deep into crisis as Greece, which has experienced a situation analogous to that of the 1930s. If the images coming from Greece today don’t correspond to the 1930s picture of social carnage and extreme human suffering, it’s thanks to the Greek welfare state – which, so maligned by certain analysts, has in fact carried out its social-protection role relatively well.