If we do not change our path, austerity threatens to force us out of the euro with even greater certainty.
—Alexis Tsipras, leader of Greek left-wing party SYRIZA, 2012
Europe’s problem ultimately proved to be political. Either the periphery had to suffer austerity (over the passionate opposition of their voters), or voters in the core had to be persuaded to bail them out.
In June 2012, more than two years after riots greeted Greece’s first big bailout, the world’s attention was again fixed on the streets of Athens. Greece was holding a general election. Membership of the euro was at stake. Passions boiled over. In one televised debate, the leader of Golden Dawn, a neo-fascist party, literally came to blows ...