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Global Financial and Economic Crises

Global Economic Collapse in Greece

Project: Global Financial and Economic Crisis 2007-Present
Open-Content project managed by KJF, mtuck

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Greece admits it joined the euro single currency in 2001 on the basis of figures that showed its budget deficit to be much lower than it really was. Eurozone states are expected to have deficits below 3 percent of gross domestic product, but revised data show Greece has exceeded that limit since 1999. Greek press reports suggest the country’s budget deficit in 1999 was 3.38 percent. The problem was discovered by Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency, when it visited Athens last week to examine Greece’s current budget figures. Greece had already said that its public deficit breached the European Union cap between 2000 and 2003, as the cost of hosting the 2004 summer Olympics reached €7bn. But Greece’s finance ministry had claimed that the country’s 1999 deficit, on the basis of which Greece was allowed to join the euro in 2001, was below the limit. “It has been proven that Greece’s budget deficit never fell below 3 percent since 1999,” finance minister George Alogoskoufis now admits. Katinka Barysch, chief economist at the Centre for European Reform, says the announcement will not be a surprise for Brussels insiders. “Quite a few member states did something similar because of the political imperative to join the euro as soon as possible. Greece has just gone a bit further,” she says. [BBC, 11/15/2004]

Entity Tags: Eurostat, Centre for European Reform, Greece, Katinka Barysch, Giorgos Alogoskoufis

Category Tags: Greece

The center-right Greek government raises taxes on alcohol and tobacco in an effort to combat the country’s large budget deficit. The price of the cheapest pack of cigarettes will rise from €0.80 to €1.40, whereas taxes on spirits will be raised by 20 percent and the rate on ouzo will go up 10 percent. The changes are announced by Greek Minister of Finance Giorgos Alogoskoufis and will also apply to previously tax-free holiday resorts such as Rhodes. In addition, the main VAT rate will rise from 18 percent to 19 percent. Officials hope the increases will boost public revenues by €500m. The Greek budget deficit is 6.1 percent of GDP, well over the 3 percent permitted by Eurozone rules, and was increased by the massive cost of hosting the 2006 summer Olympics. Together with spending cuts, the government hopes the measures will rein in the deficit to 3.5 percent of GDP this year. According to the Greek government, the tax rises are the only way of avoiding cuts in health and education spending. [Guardian, 3/30/2010]

Entity Tags: Giorgos Alogoskoufis

Category Tags: Greece

The new Greek government headed by Georgios Papandreou of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) announces a draft budget that will cut the Greek deficit dramatically. According to the draft, the deficit will be cut from 12.7 percent of GDP, although measures to assist the poor will also be implemented. [Reuters, 3/3/2010]

Entity Tags: Georgios Papandreou, Panhellenic Socialist Movement

Category Tags: Greece

The Greek government releases a final draft of its budget that aims to cut the deficit to 8.7 percent of GDP in 2010. The deficit is now well over 10 percent, so such a reduction would show EU partners and markets that the country is trying to sort its finances out. However, the draft budget also sees public debt rising to 121 percent of GDP in 2010, from 113.4 percent in 2009. EU forecasts on Greece for 2010 are worse, with the deficit seen at 12.2 percent of GDP and national debt rising to 124.9 percent, the highest ratio in the EU. [Reuters, 3/3/2010]

Category Tags: Greece

The ratings agency Standard & Poor’s puts Greece’s credit rating, currently A-, on negative watch with a view to downgrading it. [Reuters, 3/3/2010]

Entity Tags: Standard & Poor’s

Category Tags: Greece

December 8, 2009: Fitch Cuts Greece’s Rating

Fitch Ratings cuts its assessment of Greek government debt to BBB+ and says that the outlook for the country is negative. Fitch had previously cut its rating for the debt to A-, when the Greek government revealed that its budget deficit was higher than expected. This reduction is the first time in 10 years a ratings agency has put Greece below the A investment grade. [Reuters, 3/3/2010]

Entity Tags: Fitch Ratings

Category Tags: Greece

In response to Greece’s financial problems, Greek Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou outlines policies to cut the country’s ballooning budget deficit and try to regain the trust of investors and EU partners. Papandreou pledges a 10 percent cut in social security spending in 2010. He also says he will abolish bonuses at government-run banks and put a 90 percent tax on private bankers’ bonuses. Further, he promises a serious fight against corruption and tax evasion, calling them the country’s biggest problems. In addition, he announces a drastic overhaul of the pension system in six months and a new tax system that will make the wealthier carry more of the burden. [Reuters, 3/3/2010]

Entity Tags: Georgios Papandreou

Category Tags: Greece

Instead of releasing €12 billion ($17.2 billion) to help the Greek government’s worsening economic and political crises, EU leaders assembling in Luxembourg for seven hours, from Sunday night into Monday morning, place more pressure on the Greek government after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) required Europe to guarantee Greece’s finances for the next 12 months. Rather than act with a sense of urgency, EU finance ministers expect the Greek Parliament and President George Papandreou to pass an austerity bill. Greece’s crises threaten to topple the euro and EU financial markets. [New York Times, 6/20/2011]

Entity Tags: European Union, International Monetary Fund, Greece, Georgios Papandreou

Category Tags: Bailouts and Other Government Aid, Greece

Eurozone policymakers fail to reach an agreement over the weekend on financial aid to bail out Greece, resulting in a sharp market drop on Monday morning as disappointed traders react to the leaders’ failure to guarantee the next €12 billion installment of Greece’s original bailout. Widespread speculation is that a disorganized Greek default will send Eurozone single-currency nations, as well as nations around the globe, into another panic. [Guardian, 6/20/2011]

Entity Tags: European Union, International Monetary Fund, Greece, Eurozone

Category Tags: Bailouts and Other Government Aid, Greece

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