Wednesday, October 31, 2012

European Politics Increasingly Resemble Halloween

by Matthew Melchiorre

Real Clear Markets

October 31, 2012

Politics in Europe is beginning to resemble Halloween. Trick-or-treaters like Greece and Spain come to the doorstep of Germany and the European Union for bailout money. But these visitors are not polite neighborhood kids asking for a Snickers bar. These are the characters that bring on eye rolls every Halloween as they walk up the front steps.

You know the kid who claws deep into the candy bowl even after you've asked him to only take two pieces of candy... and then comes back a second time for more? That's Greece.

After receiving bailout funding from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Union (EU) in May 2010, Greece quickly fell behind in implementing the reforms conditional upon taking the rescue money. But that wasn't enough. Greece came back for a second helping when it received another bailout package in March 2012. And again, Athens has failed to meet targets for shrinking its public sector, privatizing state-owned companies, and boosting competitiveness. Now after reneging on two agreements, Greece is asking for even more time to implement its reforms - doubtless to be followed by yet another thrust into the candy bowl.


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