The tiny Greek island of Icaria is considering a referendum to break away from debt-saddled Greece, and become part of Austria.
By
World Crunch

19 Jul 2012 - 12:43 PM  UPDATED 24 Feb 2015 - 5:09 PM

LIBERO (Italy), DIE WELT (Germany), HEUTE, KLEINE ZEITUNG (Austria)

The tiny Greek island of Icaria is considering a referendum to break away from debt-saddled Greece, and become part of Austria, according to several European press reports. Icaria, which has a population of 8,000, could decide to become independent after its 100-year treaty with Athens expires later this year, Italian daily Libero reported.

The island, which is closer to mainland Turkey, became independent from the Ottoman Empire in 1912, though the freedom lasted a mere five months, before becoming part of Greece in November of that year. It derived its name from Icarus, the son of the master craftsman Daedalus in Greek mythology, who famously fell into the sea nearby after flying too close to the sun.

Fast forward to today, where they are faced with tough economic difficulties brought on by Greece's debt crisis, Icaria's citizens are disillusioned with Athens' austerity measures.

Berlin-based daily Die Welt reported that a spokesperson for Icaria's mayor Stafrinadis Christodoulos, said: "Athens has forgotten us, therefore we're thinking about an accession to Austria."

Austria's daily Heute was warmed by the prospect of their very own beach in the heart of the Aegean Sea, with an online poll showing 83% in favor of annexation.

But the sun-deprived Austrians shouldn't trade in their snowboards for water skis too soon. Austria's Kleine Zeitung reported that the Greek embassy in Vienna issued a statement stating: "Article 12 of the Lausanne treaty of 1923 confirms that the islands of the eastern Aegean, including Ikaria, belong to Greece."

Is this about modern Greek finances gone awry, or is Icaria telling another eternal tale of hubris?