This past Tuesday (March 19th), the German-led Eurozone finance ministers and International Monetary Fund (IMF) offered Cyprus a €10 billion bail-out package. The catch is, this plan requires Cyprus to raise approximately €5.8 billion (almost one-third of Cyprus’ GDP) as its share of the bailout, by Monday (March 25th). Cyprus is a small player in the Eurozone, and in a lot of trouble – could the costs of keeping Cyprus in the Eurozone outweigh the benefits?
The Greek tragedy began with its declining competitiveness in the early 2000’s. Simply put, they were producing far less than they were consuming. Many factors lead to this including their adoption of the Euro (see Hungy’s article here). Some have pointed out the irony of too much Democracy from the people who invented it: pensions rose, retirement age lowered, and public sector salaries increased. This explanation has formed the view of the Greek people as lazy and unproductive, a label which is misinformed.