Gone are the days when nobody wanted to be Greece, and it was Portugal who found it more difficult to distract the attention of the international financial markets, while at the time they left the image of Greece, largely because of the different political stance compared to the Troika intervention.
It was the nostalgic era in which Varoufakis decorated his European coreligionists with his thunderous luxury performances at Eurogroup meetings, raising his legion of fans in Portugal.
But by the collision with the reality and the responsibility of power, Tsipras renounced his dream and chose to live the nightmare he had inherited, because at that time he had no alternative to the page of austerity.
In Portugal some now only understand why Tsipras betrayed them eight years ago, because even though they were misunderstood at the time by those who had never been in power, he now shares the success of the austerity in Greece with whom he cuts the page of austerity in Portugal. has changed. … with more sobriety.
Tsipras and Centeno celebrated the clean exit of Greece from the third rescue of the troika last week, both seemingly capitalizing on the occasion of a political victory less than a year after the European elections in May 2019.
The economic reality of Greece, however, is more complicated than the festivities have made believe. It is true that the economy grew by 1.7% in 2017 and is expected to grow by 2% this year. The unemployment rate returned to levels below 20% for the first time in seven years. Economic sentiment is recovering and exporting on the right track, but for an economy that has lost more than 25% of its GDP in almost a decade of recession, the economic recovery is far from sufficient to prevent problems in the future.
To achieve the normality that Centeno welcomed in his curious television message to support the austerity of the troika, Greece must grow well by more than 2% per year. And in order to keep its official public debt of EUR 240 billion sustainable, the primary budget balance should be 3.5% by 2022 and more than 2% by 2060, so far never achieved.
In a good European way, Greek and European politicians can afford to enjoy their success as long as the final tranche of EUR 15 billion of the European Stability Mechanism is sufficient to cover the external financing needs in the coming years. year.
But there are times of global economic instability, the risks of a trade war between the US and China and the unpredictability of Italian debt on the markets, which, in the current scenario of the withdrawal of monetary policy stimuli from central banks, the vulnerabilities of an economic cycle already in adulthood.