Greece: Troika Success Story or a Warning Against Too Much Austerity?



epitropi_533_355Much has happened since Greece approached its EU partners for help in dealing with the debt crisis engulfing the country in 2010. The needed loan came at the cost of having to cut social services, pensions and salaries in order to help lower its public debt. A Parliament delegation is visiting Greece on 29-30 January to find out how this cure prescribed by the Troika has affected the country.
The delegation visit is a part of the Parliament’s inquiry into how austerity policies have affected countries that have requested the EU’s help in dealing with their financial problems. MEPs have already visited Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus.
The inquiry is led by Othmar Karas, an Austrian member of the EPP group, and Liem Hoang Ngoc, a French member of the S&D group.

Increasing debt
Greek public debt averaged just under 104% of its gross domectic product (GDP) during 1994-2009 and reached 148.3% in 2010, the year when Greece asked the EU for help. However, austerity seems to have made the situation worse. The European Commission estimates Greek public debt to have reached 176.2% of GDP in 2013 and forecasts it to fall to 170.9% in 2015.

Drastic drop in GDP
According to Eurostat, the Greek economy has shrunk for six years in a row.The worst reduction was in 2011 when the GDP decreased by 7.1%. This year a 0.6% increase is expected, followed by 2.9% growth next year.

Widespread unemployment
Unemployment rate is expected to remain at around 25% for the next couple of years. When Greece asked for help in 2010, it was only 12.6%.

Protests
Since 2010 the Greek people have taken to the streets many times to protest cuts in pensions and salaries as well as the deterioration of health and other social services as a result of austerity measures.

Parliament concerns
Over the last few years MEPs have often questioned how efficient the Troika’s policies have been. When EP President Martin Schulz visited Greece in February 2012, he commented: “As representatives of the peoples of Europe, we are convinced that budgetary consolidation must not imperil social justice.” He added that since the start of the crisis the EP has been consistent in advocating solidarity and a balanced mix of measures that includes debt reduction as well as growth initiatives.

The Troika’s work was also cricitised. by Sharon Bowles, a British member of the ALDE group. Ms Bowles, who is the chair of the economic committee, said in November 2013: “Although there are positive signs in programme countries thanks to the concerted effort of governments and the people, the Troika’s overall response to the crisis has lacked transparency and, at times, credibility.”
(source: Press releases EU)


4 COMMENTS

  1. Increasing debt – Predictable given the amount of overspending that was going on. Unfortunately to this day incompetent populists keep shamelessly demanding handouts.

    Drastic drop in GDP – When the government spending it had spill over to may industries. IN addition all the populists keep undermining our country by rioting/strikes (certainly not going to attract much foreign investment when the Chinese work for far less and don’t make as much of a fess)

    Widespread unemployment – Everything thinks they are worth more than they are. Everyone thinks they deserve government money and jobs. Until this mentality is broken and Greeks start looking after the interests by focusing on personal productivity rather than putting their thumbs in their behinds while waiting for government handouts, nothing will improve.

    Protests – The far right and far left fanatics that are at the heart of our problems.

    Parliament concerns – Pasok and ND made plenty of mistakes but virtually all Greeks voted for one of these two parties for years. Many of their former supporters have doubling down on their ignorance, greed and institutionalized corruption by moving on to supporting communists and fascist fanatics. Now that are our middle ground parties are being more responsibly many of their former supporters not only self-righteously pretend they didn’t vote for them but have jumped ship to new populist parties that offer them more empty promises of free government money in exchange for votes (having learned absolutely nothing from our massive government debt, bloated bureaucracy and unproductive economy) Still shamelessly demanding handouts.

  2. Nice try ‘guest’ But in Greece today we have 2 “Criminal Gangs” from PASOK and New
    Democracy Parties running a government of Thieves, Liars & Crooks who created all these problems today.

    It was PASOK & ND Parties who created all the financial problems in Greece
    by their corrupt rule and mismanagement– (Akis Tzahadzopolous and Yiannos
    Papantoniou are ex-MPs from PASOK who are an example of their horrific
    corruption).

    1.) Why isn’t PASOK’s MP Venizelos in jail for hiding the Legarde List 2 years
    in his home? And what about Venizelos’ controversial submarine bribery deal, he
    signed in 2010?

    2.) Why isn’t PASOK’s Finance MP Papconstantiou in jail for removing his
    relative’s names on the List?

    3.) What about PASOK & ND Parties still owing 250 million Euros to the
    Banks in phony loans they have not paid back a penny yet?

    4.) What about Health Minister Georgiades who got caught cheating on his taxes
    the other day and was let off with a minor fine of 1200 Euros. Whys is he still
    a Minister and not fired??

    5.) Why aren’t Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his sister Dora in jail after taking
    BRIBES from Seimens?

    It seems to me the Gov’t and Press here is using ANYTHING as a DISTRACTION to
    take attention away from the Massive Crimes these two corrupt Parties have
    committed as well as Treason against the whole Greek nation after 39 years of
    corrupt rule– They MUST ALL BE IMPEACHED and JAILED for high crimes and
    TREASON against the Greek People and State!

  3. More Lies and tricks by the IMF, Troika and EU Commission in bed with PASOK and ND Criminal Traitors destroying Greece by the day!— GET RID OF THEM ALL!!!!

  4. Put the guilt where it belongs, Pasok, New Democracy, and the KKE. Troika is simply doing their job to put order into a disorganized country corrupted by the political parties for over 30 years!
    When did you hear prior to Troika all of the millions that have been stolen by everyone connected to the government prior to them coming to Greece? Never.
    Yes, things are difficult, but it is up to the Greeks to actually start using their brains for once to control this country.

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