They say beggars can’t be choosers. In the context of the European sovereign-debt crisis, the Troika (European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund) has organised and granted loans to the broke States of Greece, Ireland, Portugal. Cyprus comes next on the list. Yet, for these countries to be given such liquidity injections, they are bound to take unpopular and hard measures to correct their deficits, which come in the form of economic austerity. Our country, Portugal, is known to be troika’s best student: yes they have given us the money, but we are applying austerity to the limit, and we have kept our word. The developments in Greece and more recently in Cyprus show a different case scenario: a country, and mostly a population refusing the conditions the troika gave them.
We signed up for the euro, knowing that we would loose our ability to devaluate our currencies, but conscious that there would be large scale gains from it. We never talked about the possible collapse of the euro, we did not have a common economic policy, and thus we did not sign up for mandatory austerity. Yet, when we joined the euro, we agreed to control our deficits and in that task we marvelously failed. Can beggars choose? Isn’t there a limit to austerity, which is dignity? If there is a limit, dignity, doesn’t that mean that we have to renounce to the European Union? Then, must one renounce to his dignity in such conditions?