How has the euro been dragged into an apparently insoluble crisis by an economy that represents just three percent of Europe’s GDP? How is it that a country which only a few years ago was wealthy enough to host the Olympic Games and import large quantities of the latest consumer products is now on the verge of bankruptcy and obliged to make social sacrifices on a level not seen since WWII? The Greek crisis, which began in late 2009, remains an extremely worrying a puzzling phenomenon.
A development that will have a major impact on the history of European Union, it has raised a number of problems which European leaders appear unable to resolve: in particular the question of a fundamental weakness in the structure of the EU, which has forged ahead with a monetary union that does not have the backing of a political union or a clearly defined mechanism for solidarity between countries.
With a European project that appears to be running out of steam amid disagreement over the extent to which wealthier European countries should offer support to their neighbours, and at a time when euro-scepticism is generating more and more votes for political parties, the continental social model based on the development of the welfare state is now at risk from austerity measures in Greece and in other countries throughout the EU.
While the government in Athens is selling off companies and assets to keep the country afloat, the Greek people are facing an uncertain future and falling standards of living. They are also being forced to rethink their relationship with the state which, all too often, is based on a dubious legal footing. With reports and analysis that take a close look at the impact of the crisis on country’s government and also on its citizens, this briefing presents a portrait of a country in a state of shock.