Bailing Greek tears
You are 25 years old, you have completed your education and have lived through five years of the worst recession any western European democracy has experienced since the end of the Second World War.
You wake up today to the news that leaders of other European democracies have decided a course of action which means that your country’s economy will still be in debt to the tune of 120 per cent of GDP by the time you are 35.
You think of your chances of buying or leasing a home, you think of getting out of your parental home, you think of relationships and eventually your own family. Your destiny is poverty. You surely think “NO!”
You are Greek. What is happening to ordinary people in what we once thought of as an ordinary country somewhere in the south of Europe that was a sunny, musical, historic, olive place to visit, defies imagination and seems to fly in the face of anything we in northern Europe could, or would ever accept.
And on this February winter’s day, it is hard to imagine that this 25-year-old Greek will accept it either.
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Cynically, one wonders whether last night’s 14-hour odyssey in Brussels represented the final chapter in a gamblers’ book of buying time.
The banks are ready, the euro system is more ready than it was, to suffer and survive the eventually smallish matter of a Greek default.
Such an event, eight months ago when this journey of Greece’s bailout began, could have proved terminal for the euro. No more.
Few market speculators are betting on the implosion of the euro. Portugal is still deeply vulnerable, but as small as Greece. Italy is doing what Italy had to do. France is saving its banks and clinging on to Germany‘s unloved shirt-tails. Spain? Who knows… but it is not deemed to be in as bad a pickle as either Portugal or Greece.
And Ireland, whose characterful President Higgins is here in Blighty today, is performing as the euro’s model prisoner – awash with austerity and loss and unimprisoned bankers, property developers, and politicians – Ireland is on the surprising road to eventual recovery.
Beware Greeks bearing tears – who will dry them?
If you really want a different and courageous take on Greece’s grief, do watch the moving report from one of Greece’s leading economists Yanis Varoufakis which we aired last night:
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