Dijsselbloem: “Greece is obviously not a success story”

Eurozone countries have asked for too much from the Greek people in return for international bailout loans, former Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem said in an interview on Dutch television on Saturday.

“On reforms, we have asked a lot from the Greek people, too much,” Dijsselbloem told current affairs program Nieuwsuur. “Reforms are hard enough to accomplish in a society with a well-functioning government, but this was obviously not the case in Greece.

At an earlier interview with a Greek TV station, however, Dijsselbloem blamed former Greek minister Varoufakis for his ‘catastrophic’  handling of the negotiations in 2015.

Given that Varoufakis was merely attempting to point out that the demands of the lenders were unreasonable, it is difficult to understand why Mr Dijsselbloem, who now appears to think the same, chose instead to side with the hardline view of the German finance minister.

And by all accounts, Dijsselbloem now seems to also agree with Varoufakis on the effects of the bailout programme on Greece: “Greece is obviously not a success story. Their crisis has been so deep, that you can’t call it a success” Dijsselbloem said.

A bit late for that, as Greece has now emerged from the biggest bailout in economic history on Aug. 20, after receiving 288 billion euros in financial aid since 2010, with the European Union as its biggest lender.

During the crisis, the Greek economy shrank by a quarter, pushing a third of the population into poverty and driving thousands to move abroad.

Dijsselbloem left national politics after his Labour party was heavily defeated and he lost his seat at the Dutch elections last year. He is now set to publish a book on his time as head of the Eurogroup.

Reuters

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