Unsatisfied with the proposed austerity measures, Greece has been pushing for a comprehensive debt relief package from its creditors. In public, Greece has appealed to the 1953 London Conference when Western Germany was forgiven over half of its debt. One of Germany’s creditors then: Greece.
This argument, however, fails to acknowledge the many financial and institutional reforms of Germany prior to debt relief, as well as the different geopolitical climate of the nascent Cold War.
Greece’s two previous bailouts, the first in 2010 for 110 billion euros and then again in 2012 for 130 billion euros, were paid in multiple installments. Tied with strict austerity measures, stakeholders hoped these bailouts and interventions would limit Greece’s debt level to 116.5 percent of its GDP by 2020.
As German Chancellor Angela Merkel commented, “Without solidarity and reforms it’s not possible to go where we want to go”.
*Greece’s figure reflects the haircut on private bondholders in 2012.