The problem for Greeks is not the austerity measures as such, but that they couldn't have possibly controlled the spending spree even if they had wanted and tried. It's purely political problem, and the root of all those demonstrations and riots in Greece is political, namely the ABSENCE of democracy (real democracy, not paper one), hence, the absence of legitimacy. They didn't and do not have their say in what's done in terms of borrowing, spending and paying back by their government within the existing EU and eurozone structure. That's it. The same goes for Hungary, Czech Republic and other countries. Poland became much more cautious and concerned about what the EU means for her.
It becomes increasingly obvious for European peoples that the EU is a kind of form of bureaucratic cooperation between their governments which is not only undemocratic in itself but allows those individual governments to undermine the existing national mechanisms of democratic control (bad and imperfect as they are) and juggle their responsibilities. All those protests on the streets of Athens or Lisbon or Budapest are economic in outward appearance only, but their root cause is POLITICAL in nature and is directly concerned with the problems of democracy and legitimacy of the EU structure (or, rather, lack thereof). In brief: economic manifestations of political problems. No democracy, no legitimacy, and the current crisis is a political one and, in my view, poses an existential threat to the EU.
The most absurd thing which I hear today from some pundits and observers is that EU suffers from 'too much' democracy in the economic competition with Asia (especially China), whereas it is watering down the existing democratic mechanisms as well as the absence of their timely 'upgrade' from the 19th century obsolete and now ineffective standards to the 21th century ones that really makes many Western countries and unions uncompetitive and insecure in the face of the Asian advance.
The only fair and wise thing I have recently heard from any of those so called 'leaders' (as they like to call themselves) is the last year Papandreou's decision to conduct a referendum on austerity measures in Greece, but, belonging to the heavenly host of the 'leaders', he duly backtracked and changed his mind at the first sign of trouble (don't you think for a sec that the decision of euroleaders could be connected in any way to democratic principles, or, nowadays, to any principles for that matter - playing with such words as 'referendum' 'will of people' for Papandreou is no more than an extra piece of bluff, an element of trading and bargaining with other 'euroleaders': absolutely reversible and forgettable in less than no time, and as cartoon as the very notion of the intelligent will of people in their mind).
Several times peoples of Europe clearly demonstrated to Brussels their indignation with the direction in which the EU progresses by rejecting successively several projects of the new EU constitution (virtually it was the only method left in the arsenal of the general public, who didn't have any serious objections to the text of constitution as such, but used the referendum to express their protest). But not only didn't so called 'euroleaders' hearken to those numerous and 'last-line-of-defense' protests and rejections, but also in a defiantly and demonstratively humiliating manner agreed to eliminate all the national referendums and SHOVE down the throat of Europeans the Lisbon treaty.
Just as I said in my previous articles, the main problem of the EU is that it's a BUREAUCRATIC UNION of EUROPEAN GOVERNMENTS, not a DEMOCRATIC UNION OF EUROPEAN NATIONS.
The deep and democratic reform of the union is an absolute and urgent necessity, which could be possible only and only after the recognition of the problem. Otherwise, if the euroleaders continue to persevere in their efforts to chip away at democracy (such as it is now) using the EU bureaucracy, it is really not unimaginable that this house will turn into a house of cards and just collapse.in quite a foreseeable future.
See also on the topic of 'eurotroubles':
Greece will fail without euro? Just another cynical myth?
ECB starts printing money big time: nightmares come true!
A few words about the EU: good idea, but in reality a big fraud
How can the eurozone be saved by all these summits in the longer term?