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Griechenland in der Krise - Anpassungsprogramme und Widerstände: Eine vorläufige Bilanz

2015 / No. 1
Digital Edition

Griechenland in der Krise -
Anpassungsprogramme und Widerstände:
Eine vorläufige Bilanz

Panos Kazakos
Professor (em), Nationaluniversität von Athen,
Mitglied des wissenschaftlichen Beirates des Haushaltsbureaus des griechischen Parlaments

The economic crisis of Greece started in 2009-10 after a decade of fiscal deficits, debt accumulation and weakening competitiveness. It turned out to be the deepest and longest in Europe. The article first reviews the road to this unparalleled crisis. We also attempt to explain the size and length of the crisis by referring to both - domestic factors and deficiencies of the adjustment concept developed mainly by the "Troika". Secondly, the article outlines the adjustment process. We find out that Greece has made significant progress in reducing public deficits and implementing reforms. However, delays in programme implementation led to non-observance of some critical targets. For example public administration reform lags far behind schedule, services markets are poorly liberalised, privatisations encounter high hurdles, in key sectors there are still barriers to competition. Again, to understand this mixed performance we draw from political economy considerations - weak support for adjustment by the dominant political elites, clientelism and interest group resistance, weak institutions. Further explanations are derived from political culture studies pointing to the values of a non-trust society. Last but not least, the unprecedented high un¬employment and the dramatic fall of the GDP leads us to ask whether the initial adjustment concept had substantial flaws, for example by not considering a bold debt restructuring or by imposing quick reduction of public deficits in a country that was entering a recession.

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