Greek Parliament Athens Kostas Pikoulas/ZumaPress

Don’t Lend to Your Euro Friends

After months of brinkmanship, and only a week after Greek voters rejected the conditions for a rescue package, the eurozone's political leaders agreed to start negotiations on a much larger package, worth almost half of Greece’s GDP. Unfortunately, the deal reveals Europe’s apparent determination to reenact the same tragedy in the future.

MUNICH – After months of games and brinkmanship, and only a week after Greek voters rejected the conditions for a €7.5 billion ($8.2 billion) rescue package, the end came swiftly. The eurozone’s political leaders agreed to start negotiations on a much larger package, worth €86 billion, almost half of Greece’s GDP. Unfortunately, the deal reveals Europe’s apparent determination to reenact the same tragedy in the future.

Over the past five years, a whopping €344 billion has flowed from official creditors like the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund into the coffers of the Greek government and the country’s commercial banks. But after six months of near-futile negotiations, exhaustion had set in and holidays were beckoning; so the actual conditions for a new Greek rescue were given short shrift. Although the European Financial Stability Facility had officially declared Greece bankrupt on July 3, the eurozone’s leaders kicked the insolvency can down the road yet again.

The latest agreement did halt, or at least interrupt, the eurozone’s biggest crisis to date, culminating in an unprecedented period of antipathy, opprobrium, humiliation, pestering, and blackmail within Europe. Indeed, Greece came within a hair’s breadth of leaving the eurozone.

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