Despite all the mistakes that were made and all the hardships that the Greek people have had to endure, the country’s return to profitability is a success for the EU — and for the states that use the euro in particular.
In 2010, when it became apparent that excessive deficits, wages and public debt had left the Greek state on the verge of bankruptcy, the EU and International Monetary Fund (IMF) offered loans. They didn’t have to. The EU’s treaties specifically exclude bailouts.
An agreement was reached to lend Greece money at extremely favorable conditions to enable it to continue to meet its obligations, such as paying state wages and pensions.
Naturally, euro zone countries were not solely motivated by solidarity. Self-interest was also part of it: The deal also ensured that banks in Germany, France and Spain weren’t bankrupted and dragged into the abyss along with Greece.
But the euro zone countries and the IMF could have acted differently. They could have listened to all the prophets of doom who maintained that the attempt to rescue Greece would never succeed.
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