THE election in Greece last Sunday might just be the start of the end for a federalist Europe.

The winners of the ballot, the far-left Syriza party, were swept into power with a promise to ditch draconian austerity measures that could see Greece return to the drachma.

I believe that the Eurozone will, in time, collapse as countries readopt their own currencies in order to properly manage their economies.

The financial handcuffs placed on Greece – a bailout of some £240billion – has seen her economy shrink by a quarter in four years.

Greek debt currently stands at 175 per cent of GDP. The country is riddled with corruption and is ripe for political upheaval.

Interestingly, German Chancellor Angela Merkel believes a Greek exit would be ‘manageable’.

That’s in contrast with an EU Commission spokesman, however, who has said that Greece’s membership of the Eurozone is ‘irrevocable’ and no exit would be allowed.

It’s this hardline intransigence which has always alarmed me most about the EU. Like all massive bureaucracies, there’s no room for those on the periphery to have any control over their destiny, even if it cures the problem.

Already, all the powers we’ve handed over are gone forever under the terms of the treaties we signed. And, despite calls from David Cameron for renegotiation, the EU’s position is hardening.

Commission president Jean Claude Juncker described our relationship with the EU as a doomed romance, adding that he is not in favour of “grovelling” to the British. His language has always been that of the disdainful headmaster, keen to bring his disorderly pupil back into line.

But, as the oldest nation state in Europe, we have a proud history of not towing the line and that record has stood us in good stead.