Eight years, four governments, three rescue operations. This Monday is a "special day" for Greece – and Mario Centeno is the President of the Eurogroup. From now on, Athens is only responsible for the management of its public accounts, which does not mean that budget cuts will decrease. "Responsibility comes with control", warns Brussels, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will stay close but without direct intervention.
"Today is a special day for Greece, the day when the financial rescue operation ends after a long journey with which we all learn our lessons, but now this is history", says Mario Centeno, President of the Eurogroup, in a video of Brussels where he starts with a late & # 39; kalimera & # 39; (meaning good morning & # 39; in Greek). "today, [a Grécia] economic growth. New jobs are being created, there is a budget and trade surplus and the economy has been reformed and modernized. We know that these effects are not yet felt by the entire population, but gradually they will have consequences ", he assures.
In 2010, the first rescue was approved for Greece (and also the first of the Twenty-Eight). The "Greek problem" returned in 2012 and, again, in 2015. In eight years, four different Greek governments had asked for help three times in Europe.
This Monday marks the end of the third rescue program, begun in 2015 and somewhat mediated by the arrival of Alexis Tsipras and Syriza's far left policies to the government, as well as the entry and departure of Yanis Varoufakis from the Cabinet of Finance.
Greece received more than € 288 billion out of the three repayments, a substantial part by loans from European partners and part by the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).
After a deep recession, which has caused the country to record unemployment and have worsened the social conditions of the population, the Greek economy is slowly recovering. In 2017 there was a growth rate of 1.4%, it is expected to reach 1.9% this year and reach 2.3% in 2020, although it still can not recover to pre-crisis levels. .
Public debt remains at alarming levels, at around 180% of GDP, and Unemployment continues to demonstrate the great difficulties of the Greek economy: for the first time in seven years unemployment is less than 20% (after 28%), but still at a historically high level.
2010, 2012, 2015: more than 288 billion euros
"The Greek problem". It was with this appointment on the table that European leaders met in 2010. They had a problem to deal with: Greece needed financial help. And after that initially skeptical towards Germany, a loan of 110 billion euros was approved in May (and later the government deficit became more than double the reported amount). It was the first of the Twenty-Eight to ask for it, followed by a few more, including Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Cyprus.
Two years later, a new request. In March 2012, a second repayment to Greece was approved to the value of 130 billion euros. The biggest crisis would come in 2015, after a lengthy negotiation process with Brussels, a third program and a maximum amount of 86 billion euros would get.
Arriving in 2018, "Greece has the control for which it fought", says Mário Centeno, "with control comes responsibility." The Greeks paid heavily for the bad policies of the past, so going back would be a mistake Greece is now in a position where you can take full advantage of the benefits of being a member of the European Union, with the same rules as any other country, "says the Portuguese Minister of Finance and President of the Eurogroup. "In this sense, Greece has returned to normal, so welcome back."
"The completion of the stability program is an important moment for Greece and Europe, and while the European partners showed their solidarity, the Greek people responded to all challenges with courage and determination," said Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission at a meeting press conference, and stressed that he has always defended the sustainability of the country in the European Union. In 2015 there was much speculation about the possible exit from the EU country. Do you remember Grexit yet?
Pierre Moscovici, European Commissioner for Economic Affairs, talks about good news and makes sure that Europe continues to support Greece. "Because Greece and the Greeks mark the beginning of a new chapter after eight particularly difficult years, a symbolic line is being defined under an existential crisis for the eurozone, and the extensive reforms that Greece has made have paved the way for a sustainable recovery. are fed and maintained so that the Greek people can reap the fruits of their efforts and sacrifices. "
For the time being, the Greek government has no official comments. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is expected to make a statement on television on Tuesday. However, after the meeting of leaders on June 22, 2018, when the clean exit was already practically certain, it defined as a priority the & # 39; social state & # 39 ;.