In Brief

Eurozone bailout programme finally ends

Final payment to prop-up countries following the financial crisis made to Greece on Monday

Today marks an important milestone for the eurozone as the Greek bailout finally comes to an end, the last country to receive emergency loans in the wake of Europe's financial crisis.

Greece will exit its third bailout programme today having borrowed more than €288 billion, the biggest bailout in global financial history, over eight years.

Now, the country’s creditors believe Greece is able to stand on its own two feet.

Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Cyprus all received huge loans in the years following the crash, and “at the most intense points of the crisis there were genuine doubts about whether the eurozone would survive, or at the very least whether some countries would drop out”, says the BBC.

While the root of the crises varied from country to country, from a construction and property crash to weak economic growth that undermined tax revenue, there were similarities in the consequences, in particular a poisonous interaction between stressed government finances and stressed banks.

Ten years on from the crash and eight years since Greece first received a bailout, governments across Europe have been forced to implement a programme of spending cuts and tax rises that have had a severe impact on public services and living standards.

Some have argued that far from saving the troubled eurozone economies, the bailout and harsh steps to reduce government borrowing which accompanied them aggravated economic problems, and will continue to be felt for decades to come.

Many countries fell into recession, with Greece’s economy falling 28% while unemployment rose to 28%, and 50% among young people at its peak.

In Greece, Reuters reports the country’s international bailouts “took aim at its pension system and more than a dozen rounds of cuts pushed nearly half its elderly below the poverty line”.

Monday’s exit “is a welcome milestone” says CTV News, “but it offers little assurance that the 19-country euro currency union has left behind its problems with debt. The huge debt pile in Greece and an even bigger one in Italy will remain a lurking financial threat to Europe that could take a generation to defuse”.

Nevertheless, almost exactly ten years to the day since the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the start of the financial crisis, the eurozone is once again growing albeit slowly, in part because the bailout staved off complete economic collapse that threatened its very survival.

Recommended

How Belgium succumbed to the highest Covid death rate in the world
A nurse cares for a ventilated patient at the University Hospital of Charleroi
Getting to grips with . . .

How Belgium succumbed to the highest Covid death rate in the world

Has ‘scaremongering’ about the Oxford jab undermined EU’s vaccination campaign?
Emmanuel Macron gestures as he speaks during a video conference meeting.
The latest on . . .

Has ‘scaremongering’ about the Oxford jab undermined EU’s vaccination campaign?

French academics clash with minister over ‘Islamo-leftism’ inquiry
French Minister of Higher Education Frédérique Vidal
In Brief

French academics clash with minister over ‘Islamo-leftism’ inquiry

Has Johnson ‘trolled’ the EU over vaccine rollout ahead of G7 meeting?
Boris Johnson speaks at a virtual press conference
Behind the scenes

Has Johnson ‘trolled’ the EU over vaccine rollout ahead of G7 meeting?

Popular articles

Budget predictions: what will Rishi Sunak announce?
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak poses with the Budget Box outside 11 Downing Street
Why we’re talking about . . .

Budget predictions: what will Rishi Sunak announce?

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 22 Feb 2021
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 22 Feb 2021

Best TV crime dramas to watch in 2021
Line of Duty series six returns to BBC One in 2021
In Depth

Best TV crime dramas to watch in 2021