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Opinion

Opinion: Who will end the Greek tragedy?

Greece teeters on the brink of an abyss, without any hope for help. The government is to blame, says DW's Bernd Riegert. The Greek people should vote it out of office at the referendum on Sunday.

The Greek Prime Minister's latest summersault, the last-minute request for a new loan, is a transparent election campaign maneuver. Just hours before the second bailout program ran out - a program he rejected - Alexis Tsipras wanted the lenders, whom he tends to label as financial torturers, to grant a third aid package. Where is the logic in that?

Tsipras knows that there is no way the Euro Group can endorse that hasty reaction within just a few hours. But at home in Greece, he may be able to win brownie points, claiming he fought to the very end. Will the Greeks be taken for a fool? The referendum on Sunday will give proof of that. In the meantime, Alexis Tsipras no longer seems to be sure that the people will do his bidding and say 'no' to Europe. That's the only interpretation of hints leaking from within his team that the referendum might be cancelled or postponed.

Riegert Bernd

DW's Bernd Riegert

Brussels has given up hope of getting anywhere with the Tsipras administration. EU leaders, as well as heads of state in the EU, are openly urging voters to vote 'yes' on Sunday. Should Tsipras fail with his referendum, he will have to step down if he has even a smidgeon of a sense of responsibility.

For the first time in five years, Greece is without international financial aid. The country has no access to the private financial markets. Its welfare depends solely on the European Central Bank, which will only keep the Greek banks afloat for a few more days. Athens put off the Monetary Fund by refusing to make a scheduled loan repayment. State bankruptcy and the ensuing technical exit from the euro zone is only a matter of time.

Considering the dramatic situation, the Greek head of government has nothing better to do than brashly mocking the Europeans. Greece owes the ECB 120 billion euros alone, he said in a TV interview, adding that a Grexit would be much too costly for the lenders - so Greece would never leave the euro zone. His spaced-out Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis topped that, threatening to take the euro zone and the ECB to court if the money stops flowing. Ridiculous!

The Finance Minister and his disastrous policies will take care of the Grexit. To quote " Yanis Varoufakis: "The country is bankrupt anyway," "We can't collect taxes, we're just not in a position to do so."

The leftist radical experiment has failed.

The poor Greeks will have to bear the costs. The lenders will get over written-off loans and pass them on to future generations. The loans from the bailout package are only due in 30 years anyway. No one wants to humiliate Greece or take away its independence, which is what Syriza and its rightwing radical coalition partner surmise. Greece is not forced to accept aid, but if it doesn't, it will have to make do without loans from the outside. With aplomb and all on its own. For quite some time now, none of this has been about European solidarity and European integration.

Now all we can do is hope for a new start after the referendum - or Greece must leave the euro zone.

A democratic referendum, a decision by the people, is legitimate. But not only in Greece. When I asked a Syriza politician if the Germans, Finns, French, Spaniards and other Europeans should also vote on whether they want to continue to finance Greece, he fell silent, and then mumbled 'no.'

That's a highly questionable understanding of democracy. One member of the Euro Group is better than the 18 others? That can not be.

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