chapter  10
17 Pages

Greece and the Troika in the context of the Eurozone crisis

WithANNA VISVIZI

The sovereign debt crisis made Greece the focal point of the Eurozone in 2010. The possibility of a Grexit (‘Greek exit’) sent shockwaves across Europe in 2012. However, it was the January 2015 victory of the Coalition of the Radical Left (Synaspismos tis Rizospastikis Aristeras – SYRIZA) in the early parliamentary elections that ignited a vicious and perplexing sequence of developments that culminated in an emergency EU summit stretching over the night of July 12/13, 2015. The truly dramatic negotiations of that night, in which Donald Tusk and François Holland may have played the roles of their lives, seem to have averted not only a Grexit but also a dissolution of the Eurozone and the EU. On early Monday morning July 13, Alexis Tsipras, Greece’s prime minister, travelled back to Athens to have four laws passed by the Greek parliament until July 15; laws that SYRIZA and others had been resisting for the past five years. With New Democracy (Nea Dimokratia – ND) and other centrist groupings extending their support to Tsipras, the unthinkable happened: rather than continuing infighting, politicking and political blackmail, the Greeks united at last, hence raising hopes that a third bailout would be possible and Greece would remain in the Eurozone. That being said, the unprecedented nature of the assistance programmes

extended to Greece in 2010 and in 2012, the variability of the programmes’ implementation and the prospect of the 2015 bailout render Greece one of the most interesting case studies in the debate on the nature of bailout programmes in the Eurozone. Therefore, the objective of this paper is to examine the developments in Greece under bailout conditions during the period 2010 through July 2015. The argument is structured as follows. In the first section, the bailout programme and the Troika’s1 engagement in Greece are placed in a historical perspective. In the next, the structural problems of the Greek economy are discussed, along with the principal factors leading to Greece’s insolvency in 2010. In the following section, the negotiations over the 2010 and 2012 bailout programmes are examined and the content of the programmes described. In the next, the variability of the programmes’ implementation and their outcomes are elaborated. In the final section the dramatic developments ignited by SYRIZA’s win in

January 2015 elections and culminated in the emergency EURO Summit on 12 July 2015 are discussed. Conclusions follow.