Will it be happy holidays for Greece this Christmas? The EU decides

by | Dec 16, 2016

It’s no secret that Greece has been suffering under the austerity measures it was made to enforce by European officials in order to address it’s economic woes. Indeed, the country is essentially at the mercy of it’s EU creditors, and the latest development of this is a tussle over the Greek Prime minister’s decision to alleviate some of the burden for the country’s pensioners this Christmas but how will the Greece EU relationship be affected?

Greece EU Pensions

We are almost at the halfway point of Greece’s bailout rescue program (worth 86 billion EUR) but the EU has decided to suspend the debt relief scheme, after Greece’s parliament decided to give a one-off payment to the 1.6 million of the country’s pensioners living off 800 euros a month or less. The gesture of goodwill is worth 617 million EUR. Figures across the EU have condemned the EU’s sharp response and suspension, calling for Greece to be treated with dignity.

Greece EU

It is just one of a long string of conflicts between the European Union and Greece, who have fared poorly under euro membership. New figures on Greek unemployment show very mild improvement (to the tune of .5%) but the overall number is still a whopping 22.6%. Unemployment levels for young Greeks was at 44.2 percent this summer, while the jobless rate is still the highest in the Eurozone.

Despite this, the Greek central bank is remarkably positive (some might say unrealistically), forecasting 2.5% growth in 2017 despite 0.1% growth this year. It says that if the bailout programme is successful, combined with the economic reforms the country has already made, then things could be looking up.

Everything hangs on whether the EU spreads some Christmas cheer and agrees to resume the debt relief measures. The Greek Prime Minister has held firm, saying that the payouts will not affect the country’s ability to meet it’s obligations to it’s lenders, as Greece has already achieved a surplus due to structural reforms.

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