Vatican Newspaper Says Greece Crisis Chance for Change

L’Osservatore Romano urges reform to ‘Europe of elites’

(ANSA) - Vatican City, July 6 - The crisis in Greece provides an opportunity to "define a new concept of Europe" with less emphasis on its ruling "elites", Vatican City's daily newspaper L'Osservatore Romano said Monday.

"The Greek failure may be an opportunity to define a new concept of Europe," the newspaper said one day after a national referendum in Greece rejected a proposal from the country's creditors.

Those include the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Union (EU), and the European Central Bank (ECB).

The vote has heightened concerns that Athens may ultimately leave the 19-member eurozone and the common currency.

The newspaper said that the European project "has to change, even at the cost of painful choices as Greece's exit from the single currency".

"In a continent full of history and traditions, the real challenge is precisely to give up the legacy that the past carries with it".

Sunday's referendum involved more than just the creditor proposals, but reflected a wider social context "characterized not only by the economic difficulties, but also a widespread aversion to (European) leadership and financial institutions," said the newspaper.

A wedge between the public and political leaders, both in Athens and internationally, had widened since the global financial crisis that began in 2008.

That wedge has been "fueling phenomena such as nationalism, the extremes of confrontation, and the emergence of new (political) players," such as Greece's leading Syriza party headed by Premier Alex Tsipras.

Still, reopening negotiations with creditors is not impossible, although it will be difficult, said the newspaper.

It suggested all parties return to "scratch".

It also said the crisis showed "an urgent need for a new process of integration that goes beyond (a) banking union or financial unification techniques".

Instead, the focus must now turn beyond economics to finding unity on such issues as immigration, health, communication, research and a revival of education and welfare.