Jonathon Bond in The Spectator:
‘Now Greece can finally turn the page in a crisis that has lasted too long. The worst is over.’ With these triumphant words, Pierre Moscovici, the EU Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, declared an end to the EU’s eight-year €289 billion bailout programme to Greece, the largest rescue in financial history.
Except Greece’s financial crisis isn’t by any means over — and the EU’s blithe and self-congratulatory announcement is a stain on Brussels’s moral authority. As a Greek property owner, a committed Grecophile and a disappointed Remoaner, I have witnessed with rising horror the slow water-boarding of the Greek population over the last eight years. Every one of my Greek friends has a tale to tell of families under intolerable pressure, of parents forced to leave their infant children to seek work overseas, and of grandparents funding two generations of unemployed adults from their diminishing savings and from meagre pensions already savagely cut by the EU.
The EU has enforced a 25 per cent contraction in the size of the Greek economy during the last eight years (more severe than the great American depression of the 1930s) and its fiscal punishments have caused youth unemployment to reach a staggering 44 per cent.