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In 2009 the Greek government admitted that the numbers it had been reporting to the European Union about its national budget deficit were artificially small. The deficit was actually huge, way larger than what the EU requires of member countries if they want to reap the benefits of being in this financial network. A benefit of being in the EU is that it makes it much easier for governments to take out large loans, because lenders trust that a member country will make good on its debts due to the security it has from being part of the union. This admission by the Greek government came at the tail end of, and was very much linked to, the global financial crisis felt here in the United States in 2008. As a result, lenders started enacting stricter borrowing rules, and Greece had to take out even more loans. By spring of 2010 it was veering towards bankruptcy, and in May of 2010 the first of three bailout agreements with the troika (International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank, and the European Commission) was reached. This bailout came with conditions, or austerity terms, that the Greek government had to agree to. These included deep budget cuts, steep tax increases, and promises to implement anti-corruption strategies and cut down on tax evasion. The second bailout came in 2012 after the recession continued to worsen. The third bailout came in summer of 2015 after a series of failed negotiations between Greece’s newly in power Syriza party and the troika, Greece defaulting on its loans, and a popular vote by the Greek people to reject the latest proposed bailout conditions.

Publication Date

11-30-2016

Keywords

The public health crisis in Greece and its ties to a failing economy, CWIC, College within a College, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson College of Population Health, Sidney Kimmel Medical School

Disciplines

International Public Health | Public Health

The public health crisis in Greece and its ties to a failing economy

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