This is an excellent article from European think-tank, Bruegel. It argues that the Eurogroup faces a difficult choice on Greece — implementing a debt reduction plan drastic enough to make a return to market borrowing possible, or agreeing to a fourth financial assistance programme and continuing to fund Greece at the preferential lending rate.
Greek debt is an emotional subject, depending upon your perspective. It’s necessary to perhaps examine some of the history. German and French banks loaned vast amounts of money to Greece, based on questionable commercial assumptions. Throughout, German and French banks have been protected from taking write-downs on the loan portfolio – emergency assistence came in the form of soft loans from the the Eurogroup. But the loans contained stringent terms on Greece that brought Greece to her knees, with widespread, unemployment, suicide and collapsed governments. It’s important to remember that the situation was triggered by the articial rules to support the Euro post the financial crash of 2008. Germany has consistently refused to inflate her economy, which has triggered widespread erosion in living standards in many Southern European countries.
Still today the real challenge remains the Euro.
Greece has been promised debt relief before but it failed to materialize because of powerful lobbying from German and French banks. Now France has a new president in Macron and we must see if he’s ready to reach our a helping hand to a fellow European country.
I hope that Greece gets a measure of debt relief but I fear not.