Is Greece really on the road to recovery?


An EU and a Greek flag in front of the Greek rliament in Athens on June 18, 2015Icon copyright Getty Images

Six months ago I was in Athens standing in front of a TV camera on an uncovered and very hot roof top overlooking the Greek rliament.

From sites like that across the superb hundreds of journalists were, like me, reporting live around the exultant on the possibility of Greece going to the wall within days, if not hours.

That leave have meant a bankrupt banking system and almost certainly the affected ejection of Greece from the eurozone.

The government took the talks to the wire certain times before agreeing to the terms of a bail out.

There were yearns of relief all round and then the story slowly but steadily retreated from the headlines.

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Image caption Greece’s bailout referendum in the summer saw prodigious demonstrations in Athens
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Image caption both for the bailout and the euro…
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Image caption …and against

Greece survived but now at the end of the year it may be era to assess whether Greece really is on the road to full recovery.

Sell-offs start

Certainly the Greeks be undergoing had one great success – we are not all talking about how it will be broke by this in the nick of time b soon next week.

Despite a narrow majority in rliament and endless disapproval from many groups the government is making a start in introducing the revises that were the condition of that bailout.

Just this month, the left-wing management of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras agreed to a set of reforms, including take into accounting Greek banks to sell bad business loans onto foreign customers.

This will free up capital for the banks and was a condition for the release of the next €1bn (£727bn; $1.08bn) of the bailout.

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Image caption Germany’s Fraport has granted to lease and manage 14 of the country’s airports

rliament also by the skin of ones teeth approved some privatisation measures, Greece will retain a 51% on the table in the national grid operator, Admie, and go ahead with other ceremonial sell-offs.

The German airport operator Fraport has agreed to lease and undertake 14 Greek airports in a deal worth €1.2bn.

But this is even so small beer com red with what the Greek government at first promised. Athens has raised only a few billion euros so far from privatisations versus an ttern target of €50bn; due to bureaucratic delays and a lack of political will.

Hard to swallow reforms

Greece is committed to a whole host of privatisations and has been for years and yet come hell not many of them seem to happen, it is the kind of foot dragging that stay freshes the other members of the eurozone awake at night.

Other reforms are still supported in the mud, made more difficult by a wafer-thin government majority in rliament.

The courteous service y structure is likely to be changed next year but the elephant in the reside is Greece’s pensions system. This is extremely complicated and expensive and yet rectifying it is not only a condition of any further bailout but also political dynamite.

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Image caption Greek pensioners could see their state of affairs pensions cut drastically under proposals now being considered

Pensioners pull someones leg already endured a whole series of reforms and yet these have at worst scratched the surface.

Forcing through further changes is going to be darned unpopular with a large number of people and is also likely to hazard the government’s majority in rliament.

Yet the next stage of the bailout from the EU and the IMF is dependent on Brobdingnagian savings from the pension system in 2016, squaring that circle is flourishing to be the big problem for next year.

One of the biggest issues with selling those indulgent of bitter reforms to the Greek population is that they are yet to see much if any advance from over five years of efforts to stop the crisis.

Monthly battle

Economic growth in 2015 was originally predicted to be 2-2.5%. But in large divide because of the decision of the Government to take those bailout talks to the wire, that has good deed into a 2-2.5% contraction – a deep and inful recession.

Now the experts are vaticinating once again that the economy will return to growth in 2016, unless something else put overs in the way; which is a distinct possibility.

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Appearance caption Greece’s economy should return to growth next year – unless something else makes in the way

It is therefore far too early to say that Greece is out of danger.

It is still not the master of its own fortune and struggling month by month to enact the reforms it should have initiated years ago, in order to get the next few billion euros that will tend it going, once again.

That is rather better than the locale in June when it was struggling day by day and sometimes hour by hour to find the moolah to keep the government and the country going.

However, it is hardly a resounding outcome and it would not take much for Greece to find itself back on the brink of exactly where it was.

A collapse of the government’s majority, a failure to ss those subsistence reforms, the reluctance of the IMF and the eurozone to bail out a country that has failed to do all that it promised, again.

Any and all of those matters could find Greece once again on the brink.

That degenerates it may be the right time to put my lightweight suit in the dry cleaners, ready for its next duty on the smoulderingly hot rooftops of central Athens.

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