The chapter discusses developments in the Eurozone during the early months of 2012. It is argued that in Greece the Papademos government was fatally undermined by the unwillingness of the coalition partners to endow it with a longer-term mission. Yet, the prospect of a new election halted the domestic reform momentum. At the European level, hopes for the containment of the crisis did not materialise as both Italy and Spain remained under severe pressure from the markets. The prospect of an imminent Lehman Brothers moment for the European economy alarmed the US which pressed Germany for a relaxation of austerity in the Eurozone, but to no avail. The election of Hollande in France raised expectations in Greece that the German policy was about to be reversed. Such expectations, however, proved rather unrealistic.
The chapter discusses the spreading of the Eurozone crisis to Italy, leading to the formation of the Monti government in November 2011. The uncertainty over Italy was compounded by fears that the firepower of the EFSF would not suffice in case Italy needed rescue. The launch of the Fiscal Pact and the accelerated entry into force of the European Stability Mechanism were meant to calm fears over the ability of the Eurozone to respond to future iterations of the crisis. Yet, the opting out of the UK from the Fiscal Pact and its apparent intergovernmental nature, created sceptism over the institutional design of economic governance in the Eurozone.
The chapter discusses the tasks facing the new coalition government in Greece, under Loucas Papademos, in the aftermath of Papandreou’s resignation. It is argued that government was confronted with a huge workload, including the negotiation of the terms of Greece’s second bailout, the implementation of the PSI programme and the recapitalisation of Greek banks. This agenda had to be pursued against a background of growing suspicion on behalf of Greece’s international partners and increasing public hostility within Greece.
The chapter discusses the intensification of the Eurozone crisis in the aftermath of the Greek election of May 2012, particularly as concerns over the health of the Spanish economy put pressure on the value of the Euro. The ECB warned that the very design of EMU was no longer sustainable, but the building of consensus over the reform of the Eurozone’s architecture proved elusive.
The chapter reviews the record of economic reform implemented in Greece during 2010. It is argued that confidence in the Greek economy began to erode further as a result of the government’s inconsistencies, but also due to the fact that many of the fundamental assumptions of the Memorandum proved erroneous. These uncertainties fuelled speculation about a possible restructuring of Greece’s debt.
The chapter examines the provisions of Greece’s first Memorandum of Understanding with the IMF and the EU. It is argued that the targets set by the Memorandum were not realistic and the severity of the envisaged macroeconomic adjustment was unprecedented in the developed world. It is also argued that the Greek government failed to negotiate with its creditors a deal that would be better tailored to the socio-economic realities in the country.
The chapter discusses the circumstances under which the Greek crisis spread to the European Union. It is argued that, despite the creation of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) in May 2010, the financial markets remained sceptical over the sustainability of debt in a number of Eurozone countries. This led both Ireland and Portugal to resort to the EU/IMF for a bailout package.
The chapter reviews the conditions under which Greece entered the Eurozone in 2001. It discusses the controversies surrounding the manipulation of Greek statistics and sets the scene within which the Greek debt crisis unfolded
This chapter discusses the strategy of the Greek government in its efforts to avert an escalating economic crisis during the first months of 2009. It is argued that the message sent by Athens over the nature of its economic troubles was unclear. So was its preference over who should lead a potential rescue of the Greek economy, with both the EU and IMF receiving conflicting signals from Athens.
The chapter traces the early economic record of PASOK following its electoral victory in 2009. It argues that the new government failed to act quickly and convincingly in order to calm fears over the health of the Greek economy. Instead the government wasted its energies in diverting attention away from the real economic problems facing the country.