Academic journal article International Journal of Employment Studies

The Greek Crisis 2009-2015: A Comprehensive Analysis of the EU-IMF Financial Assistance Programs

Academic journal article International Journal of Employment Studies

The Greek Crisis 2009-2015: A Comprehensive Analysis of the EU-IMF Financial Assistance Programs

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The Eurozone crisis (henceforth 'crisis') undoubtedly constitutes a landmark for the European Union (EU), especially the Eurozone, and its Member States (MS). The crisis was the first instance of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) becoming involved in the Eurozone, previously considered taboo due to the antagonistic presence of the Euro against the United States of America (USA) dollar and due to the fact that its participation "would be ... an admission that the Eurozone is incapable of dealing with its internal problems and that it needs help from 'Washington'..." (Pisani-Ferry & Sapir 2010; see also Featherstone 2011: 203). In addition, the crisis marked the first case of the EU providing financial assistance to Eurozone MS, conditional upon implementation of structural adjustment policies (1). More broadly, the substantial amount of EU and international legislation that had been introduced effectively established a new stage of integration of the Economic and Monetary Union. It is, then, evident that the crisis resulted in substantial modifications of the then operational and legal status quo within the EU. The beginning of these modifications can be traced to a single MS case: Greece. Greece became the first Eurozone MS to request the activation of the then ad hoc EU-IMF financial assistance mechanism, and it was due to the weaknesses in the EU operating framework that surfaced because of the Greek case, that most of the EU legislation relating to the crisis was adopted (European Council 2010).

The aim of this article is to delineate the modalities and specifics of the EU-IMF measures assumed in relation to Greece and the crisis. In the following section, a brief overview of the relevant literature is presented. There has been considerable scholarship on the Greek case, offering many useful insights, but there is room for a contribution in providing a conclusive overall account of the institutional and legal aspects of the issue at hand. In the next section, a brief temporal overview is provided relevant to the crisis progression in Greece, and how the supranational level responded to it. The main section of the article the legislative/operative aspects of the Greek crisis are examined, with the aim of presenting how the process of those programs was actually applied to Greece (although, since Greece participated in virtually all versions of financial assistance established by the EU-IMF cooperation, similar provisions have been applicable for all other Eurozone MS receiving assistance). The article concludes with a brief summary.

BRIEF OVERVIEW OF RELEVANT LITERATURE

It is useful to briefly overview the existing literature in relation to the measures assumed in the Greek case. There has been scholarship outlining the effect of the assistance programs on specific policy areas, such as Ladi (2014), analysing Greek public administration before and after the crisis, Katsanidou (2012), investigating political party behaviour in relevance to the Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs), and Aranitou et al. (2011), presenting an indicative set of changes under the financial assistance programs from the perspective of Greece's political history. There are, in addition, other strands of scholarship that examine purely economic aspects of the relevant issues (eg Athanassiou 2009; Kaplanoglou & Rapanos 2011; Katsimi & Moutos 2010). Finally, there are the analyses that present a legal/constitutional perspective of the programs (eg Katrougkalos 2010, 2011; Manitakis 2011; Marias 2010; Kasimatis 2010; Giannakopoulos 2011; Drosos 2010). A small portion of this latter strand of literature focuses on the modalities of the programs. For example, Marias (2010) provides excellent contributions in relation to the Decision (DEC) 2010/182/EU/16-02-2010 of the Economic and Financial Council of the EU's Council of Ministers (CoM) relevant to the First Program (2215). Marias (2010), as well as Xrysogonos (2010), also highlight in detail the contradictory paths of national legislation for the MoU of the First Program within Greece's domestic realm, and provide an extensive evaluation of the relevant loan agreements. …

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