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EU Economics

Greece on the brink

The map of Europe is featured on the face of a two Euro coin seen in this photo illustration taken in Rome, Italy, in this December 3, 2011 file photo. REUTERS/Tony Gentile/Files

A remarkable news story has managed to slip by nearly every European news agency this week; Greece is once again facing financial meltdown.

The Greek Newspaper, Ekathimerini, reported that ‘Greece’s state cash is drying up rapidly once again’. While this is certainly not the first time that this headline has been written, what makes this story interesting is the fact that a treasury official has, for the first time, spoken out (from a position of anonymity) about the state of Greece’s financial position.
This breaking of the ranks suggests one of two things. Either Greece’s position is worse than ever or there is a complete exasperation from the Greek Finance Ministry over their ongoing fiscal situation. Either way, it is indicative of a deteriorating Greek Government. The whistle-blower has said that there is growing pressure on Greece’s finances – and that the state is only able to meet its financial obligations until mid-May.

While the Government official claimed that ‘the situation is not as bad as last year’ he did admit that the Greek government was already in the process of loaning money from various Greek state assets and departments to other Government entities to ensure that bills can be paid. This is an extraordinary bit of accounting and says everything about Greece’s situation that they have been forced to meet their financial commitments this way. Even with this creative accounting the source claims that Greece will have run out of money by May 20th unless they receive a fresh bailout or take on new debts.

Depressingly, this story feels like nothing but a formality; once again Greece is on the verge of bankruptcy. This in itself shows just how badly Greece has been beaten into submission by the European Union as well as the European Central Bank.

topelementThere has been no state within the European Union which has been treated quite so appallingly as Greece – by both their own Government as well as the European Union. The Greek story began with their membership of the Eurozone, which wrecked their economy following the financial crash in 2007. This was followed by their democratically elected Government being deposed at the behest of the European Union. Finally, when the Greek people voted in a referendum against a new bailout package from the European Union, their newly elected Government ignored this and signed up to an even worse deal than was originally offered to them.

On top of Greece’s financial woes has been the ongoing migration crisis, of which Greece has been one of the worst hit – with millions of migrants arriving via boat to mainland Greece and its surrounding islands.

In many ways it is remarkable that the Greek people have shown such restraint to crisis after crisis which has hit their country. How long the Greek people will tolerate this kind of treatment is difficult to determine. They have put up with so much, for so long. However, everyone has their breaking point.

Greece on the brink

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