The name “Greece” reminds us of great philosophers such as Socrates, Pluto and Aristotle, its rich history of the epic battles in Troy and Sparta, the beautiful Mediterranean islands, and the delicious cuisine, let alone being the birthplace of the Olympics.
When Greece joined the European Union (EU) in 1980, it had a promising economy which was in chime with the entry conditions of this huge organization of European countries.
In terms of the economy status, the conditions were: inflation should not exceed 1.3 percent, government deficit should be less than three percent of the GDP, interest rates of both medium and long terms should not exceed two percent, and the public debt should be less than 60 percent of the GDP.
One of the important conditions was to establish a unified currency for the member states, which compelled Greece to abandon its Drachma currency and replace it with Euro in 2001. Unfortunately, Greece’s economy wasn’t that strong to sustain and properly implement the Euro dream, causing it to face several challenges which eventually affected its economy drastically.
Greece suffered from crises after crises although periodically, which manifested itself in its credit rating. The then government couldn’t take difficult decisions to steer the country out of the economy downfall.
It is worth mentioning that Greece, during that time, was a transit for most immigrants and refugees fleeing war in the Middle East (Syria) and even Afghanistan. This phenomenon negatively affected the country’s security and even economy.
However, Greece ushered a new government in 2017 which managed to deal with the economy crisis pragmatically to the extent that the country, in the same year, recorded its first actual growth of 1.3 percent since nine years, and has now increased to two percent this year, a growth that will continue in the coming years as forecasted by the economy experts.
The Greek government, headed by Alexis Tsipras since 2015, continues to implement firm steps towards balanced development until the economy stabilizes and the labor market revives, in its decisive march towards coming out of the crisis and persisting on the path of continuous growth in order to regain the country’s place in the international market.
Greece’s positive development did not come as a surprise. It happened due to the pragmatic approach taken towards the crisis, and the application of the remedy even when the medicine was too blistering. The national statistical service of Greece reported that the growth was the result of record-breaking tourism activity which generated 14.5 billion Euros, an increase of about a billion Euro compared to 2016.
According to EU statistical agency, Greece has the highest unemployment rate in Europe, which stands at 21.7 percent. Unemployment continues to be the biggest challenge faced in even major and high-economy countries, but when it comes to Greece, the future looks optimistic in terms of tackling and solving their economy challenges and subsequently the social ones.
Greece is an effective player in the Mediterranean region. It has enriched mankind for ages in almost all aspects. The reason why Greece suffered from economic crisis is the mismanagement of the country’s economy and presence of corruption in all domains of the country.
Its rival neighbor Turkey went through a wave of economy crises that hit it very hard but it eventually managed to recover from it due to proper management of its resources and reach its current status. Irrespective of the setbacks in its currency rate in the world market, its local economy is still strong and firm.
It is in the interest of everyone to ensure Greece becomes an economic power. So far, the government’s performance has been promising based on positive data. I believe Greece is heading towards development, growth and prosperity.
(The figures contained in this article were gathered from various sources.)
Twitter – @alzmi1969
“Fortune is not on the side of the faint-hearted” – ancient Greece tragedian Sophocles (496 BC – 406 BC).
By Yousef Awadh Al-Azmi