Reuters reported earlier today that Greece and its European creditors agreed Monday to resume talks on what economic reforms the country must make next in order to get the money it needs to avoid bankruptcy and a potential exit from the euro this summer.
Greece has been trying to stay afloat ever since the financial crisis began in late 2009 as the government battled low growth rates, soaring inflation as well as high budget and trade deficits. That’s when the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission, also known as the troika of lenders, stepped in. But that came with a price. To date the government has had to slash spending by over 75 billion euros. Education, welfare and healthcare saw deep cuts.
The controversial and much discussed possible exit is often referred to as “Grexit”, a portmanteau combining the English words “Greek” and “exit”. The term “Graccident” (accidental Grexit) was coined for the case that Greece exited the EU and the euro without intention.
Starting from 2010, the seat of the Greek government was thus effectively transferred from Athens to Brussels, Washington and Berlin. Left in Greece itself was little more than the power to administer national policies and implement sovereign decisions made abroad.
People took to the streets as many lost their jobs, while others saw their pensions and salaries significantly decreased. To make matters worse Greeks were expected to contribute more since taxes and the overall cost of living went up. Homelessness and suicide rates skyrocketed as people couldn’t cope with their new reality. Greeks felt betrayed by their government for allowing the situation to get to breaking point.
In 2016 Greece has a new challenge – the refugee crisis. The country has shown great humanity to those who have lost everything despite the fact that Greeks are still suffering themselves. The Greek crisis doesn’t make international headlines the way it used to. Is it because the situation is improving or because people have lost hope that anything will change? After all, it was only a year and half ago when 61 percent of the population voted against the new bailout conditions proposed by the troika of lenders.
How do those people, the majority, who voted ‘No’ feel considering the prime minister ignored the majority and implemented even more austerity measures?
*With sources from RT.com