Michael Portillo criticized the EU for letting Greece join the euro – “Aspired!” | World | New
Michael Portillo on the impact of the euro on Greece in 2012
Greece presented its national recovery plan to the European Commission this week. The document will contain his proposals for using the bloc’s crisis funds to combat the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Bloomberg. It will focus on four areas: the digital transition; employment, training and social cohesion; the green economy; and stimulate investment.
In a bulletin, Alex Patelis, chief economic adviser to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said: “The plan includes both reforms and investments.”
Along with Bulgaria, Greece is fast becoming one of the two biggest benefactors per capita.
The EU’s coronavirus recovery program aims to help the hardest-hit countries, mainly in southern Europe.
Many fear the package will repeat the crushing debts European countries found themselves in after the 2008 financial crash.
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Greece was plunged into crisis during this period, forced to seek bailouts from the European Economic Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in order to avoid a default.
Many, like former conservative politician Michael Portillo, attribute Greece’s demise after 2008 directly to the EU.
The euro was introduced on New Year’s Day 2002, an event the ECB has described as “the dawn of a new era”.
Twelve countries took the plunge and adopted the new currency as their own currency.
Membership was supposed to help weak economies like Greece catch up with their richer eurozone partners.
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Drachma: Portillo blamed the EU for Greece’s woes after 2008
During the 2012 BBC documentary “The Great Euro Crisis by Michael Portillo” he visited various organizations and individuals to find out whether they thought Greece should continue with the euro or return to the drachma, the last national currency of the country.
He gave up his right to print his own money in favor of joining a larger European dream, but Mr Portillo argued that this dream quickly turned into a nightmare.
While visiting a drachma shrine, he criticized the EU for allowing Greece to join the euro, and said: “A weak economy like Greece should never have shared the same currency with Germany. , the economic power of Europe.
“A low drachma made it easier to export Greek tomatoes and olives.
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“But being part of the stronger euro made Greece uncompetitive and absorbed imports of manufactured goods.”
Shortly before, he had visited a soup kitchen in Athens, one of many that had sprung up across the city in response to mass unemployment after the crash.
Describing the scene, he said: “What I saw here reminds me of those black and white photographs of the American Great Depression of the 1930s.
“The fact that this is happening in 21st century Europe seems incredible to me.”
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By 2012, the number of homeless people in the city had reached 20,000, not counting the country as a whole.
The food center visited by Mr. Portillo fed 1,250 people a day.
Unemployment and the resulting homelessness have been largely attributed to the sweeping austerity measures the EU forced Greece to roll out in return for a financial bailout.
The ECB and the IMF have granted the country 110 billion (96.7 billion) in loans at interest rates.
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Germany provided the largest sum, around 22 billion euros (19 billion pounds sterling).
Subsequently, public spending on things like jobs, infrastructure and pensions was limited to a devastating effect.
Greece continues to reimburse the sum with its last payment scheduled not before 2040.
Currently, 40 percent of people aged 15 to 24 are unemployed.
The average for the same age group across the continent is only 14%.