Today runs out the last rescue package for Athens. Thus, the Greek crisis is officially over. But hardly anything could further be the reality, as numbers show.
In the end, everything went very quickly: just two months ago, the EU finance ministers decided on the last aid package for Greece. Today this package runs out. The crisis in Greece has officially ended after years on the brink – and both Athens and Brussels are noticeably relieved.
For both sides, it is a liberation: Brussels is glad to Greece, after getting new auxiliary billions at least officially going on. The economic agenda of these days is already so overflowing. Alexis Tsipras, on the other hand, barely has approvals of more than ten percent. The Greeks did not forgive the former hope that he came to liberate them from the EU yoke, and then only one austerity of donors after another pushed through. Well, it is said from Athens, Greece is finally free again.
But just because both sides declare the crisis over has not ended the crisis. In fact, Greece is still facing economic collapse. The utilities have polished some numbers to make the end of the programs possible. But the real problems did not solve them.
As a sign of the stabilization of Greece is that the gross domestic product (GDP) is finally growing again. This growth is expected to reach a good two percent this year, having already reached 1.35 percent in 2017. In fact, these are positive values compared to the highlights of the Greek crisis: In 2011, real GDP shrank by 9.13 percent. However, the truth is that absolute GDP in Greece has fallen dramatically in recent years:
GDP 2008: 350 billion US dollars
GDP 2017: 200 billion US dollars
The GDP per capita in 2008 was still 32,200 US dollars. Last year, it was about $ 18,600, about the same as Oman or Barbados.
Of the Budget surplus is another indicator that is often used to prove the supposed recovery of Greece. Last year, the primary surplus was officially at seven billion euros or four percent of GDP. However, this is not least due to the low GDP – and can not hide the fact that Greece remains the highest public debt in Europe has:
Public debt as a percentage of GDP in 2008: 109 percent
Public debt as a percentage of GDP in 2017: 180 percent
In 2019, this rate should rise to 190 percent. That would be higher than ever before in recent history.
One of the biggest problems of Greece is the unemployment:
Unemployment 2008: 7.8 percent
Unemployment 2017: 21.5 percent
The situation is particularly dramatic among Greeks under the age of 25 – even though 400,000 young Greeks emigrated during the crisis to seek their fortune abroad.
Youth unemployment 2008: 22 percent
Youth unemployment 2017: 44 percent
The problem is that there is no perspective in Greece. To boost the economy and get people into jobs, it would need growth, especially in the private sector. The only thing the EU-mandated programs have brought to the country, however, are cuts. Tsipras has saved where the resistance was manageable: pensions, wages, social benefits. In this he does not differ from his predecessors, despite the fact that he is close to the people. At least 1.5 million Greeks live today according to estimates in extreme poverty, so with less than 176 euros a month. That's more than ten percent of the population.
The country's true structural problems, on the other hand, remain untouched. Super rich ship owners who do not have to pay taxes. An outdated, extremely expensive bureaucracy, in which the smallest application takes weeks, if not completely lost. And last but not least, such a complex one Business Lawthat hardly a Greek wants to start – let alone investments of foreign companies.
Business start-ups 2008: approx. 57,000
Business start-ups 2017: 28,600
Of the few start-ups that still exist in Greece, most of them are in hospitality, tourism and other services: just under nine out of ten of the new companies sell souvlaki, coffee or tax tips. On the other hand, there are hardly any new companies in the areas of production, infrastructure or technology.
Specifically, this means that where new companies are created at all, almost no jobs are created for the many people willing to work. In addition, most start-ups rely on consumption within Greece. The Greeks themselves, with their shrinking incomes, lack the money for this consumption. And there are more tourists coming to Greece and spending money there. But that they should now be the only engine to finally bring Greece out of the crisis, shows how the situation is.
The Greek crisis is not over. Athens and Brussels have only managed to move them from the shop window to the back room, where they do not bother so much.