By the close of play in 2018, Greece will once again be able to borrow money on the open market.
However, this doesn’t mean that the proud country can unshackle itself from the EU just yet.
Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis outlined the reality in an article for Project Syndicate yesterday:
Until 75 percent of Greece’s public debt is repaid—in 2060, at the earliest—the country, we are told, will be subject to “enhanced surveillance” (a term with unfortunate echoes of “enhanced interrogation”).
In practice, this means 42 years of quarterly reviews, during which the European Commission and the [European Central Bank] ecb “in collaboration with the [International Monetary Fund] imf” may impose new “measures” on Greece (such as austerity, fire sales of public property, and restrictions on organized labor). In short, the next two generations of Greeks will grow up with the troika and its “process” (perhaps under a different name) as a permanent fixture of life.
The details of this enhanced surveillance have yet to be ironed out. But the current bailout process gives Greece’s European overseers the ability to veto Greek laws. European bureaucrats will retain about as much control over Greece as the United States president has over the United States.
Even if Europe retains only a veto power over Greece’s spending until 2060, this is still a huge amount of power. Control of a nation’s finances is fundamental to its sovereignty.
EU Observer called July 13, 2015—the date of the last major clash between Greece and Europe—“the day Greece lost its independence after 185 years of freedom, the day democracy died in the country that invented it.”