Skip to content
The Editors

EU's Greek Drama Needs a Final Act

Greece looks increasingly likely to face early elections after a poor first-round attempt to elect a president. The best the EU can do is focus on reform, not austerity.
How long must the Greeks eat soup?

How long must the Greeks eat soup?

Photographer: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images

Judging from Wednesday's vote in the Greek parliament, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras may not get the mandate he wants to keep economic austerity measures in place and avoid defaulting on the country's debt. His would be the responsible path, but it's easy enough to see why Greeks wouldn't want to follow it.

The dispute is haunting international investors again because the European Union in general, and Germany in particular, refuses to write off any part of Greece's sovereign debt. Yet, as most economists acknowledge, the country can never emerge from under its current debt pile -- now close to 180 percent of gross domestic product. And the prospect of endless years of austerity spent in the attempt is political poison.