Professor Puente worked for the European Commission as high ranking official responsible for negotiations with Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and Hungary. As a guest lecturer he talked about two countries that are in serious economic crisis, Spain and Greece. In many respects, Spain and Greece have similar problems, although Spain did not need to be “saved” by the EU.
In both countries the difficult situations resulted in the rise to power of extreme political forces. Professor Puente examined the promises and projections of these parties. In the present hard situation in both countries new parties emerged, Podemos in Spain and Syriza in Greece. In both countries the common risk factors include economic stagnation, unemployment, difficulties in receiving bank loans, setting up businesses, among others.
Do these populist parties and their success in Spain and Greece risk EU membership? Do they threat EU? The utopian promises and the emotionally charged ideas are attractive for people but the big questions remain; how long can they keep their positions and, as Professor Puente has put it, who will pay the price of these utopian programs.