Greece’s Perpetual Crisis
The problem with Greece is that everyone – the government, the European Commission, the European Central Bank, Germany, and the IMF – is lying. To end the country's crisis once and for all requires a unilateral moratorium on all repayments until substantial debt restructuring and reasonable fiscal targets are agreed.
ATHENS – Since the summer of 2015, Greece has (mostly) dropped out of the news, but not because its economic condition has stabilized. A prison is not newsworthy as long as the inmates suffer quietly. It is only when they stage a rebellion, and the authorities crack down, that the satellite trucks appear.
The last rebellion occurred in the first half of 2015, when Greek voters rejected piling new loans upon mountains of already-unsustainable debt, a move that would extend Greece’s bankruptcy into the future by pretending to have overcome it. And it was at this point that the European Union and the International Monetary Fund – with their “extend and pretend” approach in jeopardy – crushed the “Greek Spring” and forced yet another unpayable loan on a bankrupted country. So it was only a matter of time before the problem resurfaced.
In the interim, the focus in Europe has shifted to Brexit, xenophobic right-wing populism in Austria and Germany, and Italy’s constitutional referendum, which brought down Matteo Renzi’s government. Soon, attention will shift again, this time to France’s crumbling political center. But, lest we forget, the inane management of Europe’s debt crisis began in Greece. A minor country in the grand scheme of things in Europe became a test case for a strategy that could be likened to rolling a snowball uphill. The resulting avalanches have been undermining the EU’s legitimacy ever since.
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