Opinion Comment

Wednesday 20 September 2017

Reform must be the price demanded for debt relief

Greece's Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis. Photo: Reuters
Greece's Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis. Photo: Reuters
John Bruton

John Bruton

It remains unclear whether Greece will reach an acceptable deal with its creditors, which are mainly other European Governments.

It is important to say that the recession in Greece has been much deeper than expected by those who agreed the original bailout package with Greece in 2010 - a 25pc fall in output as against a predicted 7pc fall. The budgetary adjustments have also been bigger than in any of the other bailout countries.

When Greece got a bailout from other governments and the IMF, the ultimate beneficiaries included banks, not only in Europe but also elsewhere. These banks had been lending to the Greek government, long after they should have stopped doing so, and have forced Greece to confront reality. They assumed that because Greece was in the euro then someone somewhere would ensure they were repaid.

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