Monday, August 20, 2018
Greece’s Bailout Is Ending. The Pain Is Far From Over.
New York Times
August 19, 2018
When Dimitris Zafiriou landed a coveted full-time job two months ago, the salary was only half what he earned before Greece’s debt crisis. Yet after years of struggling, it was a step up.
“Now, our family has zero money left over at the end of the month,” Mr. Zafiriou, 47, a specialist in metal building infrastructure, said with a grim laugh. “But zero is better than what we had before, when we couldn’t pay the bills at all.”
Greece is reaching a milestone in one of the most ruinous financial crises to hit Europe. On Monday, the country will officially end its reliance on over 320 billion euros, or about $360 billion, of bailouts, opening a path to a new era of financial independence. The economy is slowly returning to growth, and European leaders are declaring an end to a debt crisis that nearly broke up the euro.
But the price of Greece’s apparent turnaround has been steep. A wrenching downturn, combined with nearly a decade of sharp spending cuts and tax increases to repair the nation’s finances, has left over a third of the population of 10 million near poverty, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.