Sunday 4 December 2016

Neither a debt write-off nor a Grexit would spell good news for Ireland

Published 25/06/2015 | 02:30

Uneasy relationship: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker
Uneasy relationship: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker

Never has so much been written over such a long period of time about such a small a country. And a great deal of what has been written on Greece is based as much on the prejudices of the authors as it is on a balanced assessment of the many factors at play.

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For one group of commentators, the European and IMF side is wicked and uncaring, wanting sadistically to keep Greece in a permanent austerity trap. This side of the debate argues that Greece's debts should be written off and that lifting the burden would solve the country's problems in one fell swoop.

For another group of commentators, taking a diametrically opposing view, the governments which ran Greece until early this year were weak and unreliable, frequently backsliding on the promises they made. The current Syriza-led administration is not only even less dependable, but it also disagrees ideologically with most of the measures the rest of the eurozone believes Greece needs. The anti-Greece brigade argue that after five-and-a-half years of crisis, it should be drummed out of the euro, and this would solve the eurozone crisis.

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