The standoff between Greece and the EU refuses to lie down, however it was IFAonline.co.uk's sister title 'Risk' magazine which skilfully pinned down the exact numbers in an article published in 2003.
Greece has been stripped of its vote at a key EU meeting, effectively putting the country on the naughty step until it can prove it is taking sufficient measures to cut public spending and raise further revenue.
The citizens of wealthier EU countries, notably Germany, are being persuaded to stand behind Greece’s debt for the sake of European unity and stability, but there is growing domestic political resistance to doing the same for other EU members who may also be in the default zone.
It is a grave and worrying situation, weighing heavily on markets just beginning to revive after the deepest financial crisis in decades. But it is hardly a surprise to anyone who has been active in the European capital markets in recent years.
Southern European countries have long had a reputation of massaging their national statistics to optimise grants, aid and any other benefits afforded by membership of the European Union. Just ask any Northern European farmers about agricultural subsidies through the 1990s and 2000’s.
As with so many other market surprises and scandals, the final breakdown comes as no surprise to those who really know their industry. The information is there for those who want to listen to it, or read it. But in prosperous years, bearers of doubt and caution are rarely welcome. It gives no pleasure, even if it offers vindication, when such reports are proved to be true.
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