World Economy

Greece Looking Economically Vibrant on Road to Recovery

Greece Looking Economically Vibrant on Road to RecoveryGreece Looking Economically Vibrant on Road to Recovery

It’s nearly springtime in Athens: street trees are heavy with citrus, wildflowers are erupting in the pine-scented hills and the air is thick with talk of a Greek exit. But not the kind of exit that has preoccupied the country, and Europe, in so many seasons past.

Instead of Greece crashing out of the eurozone, and perhaps taking the currency’s credibility with it, the country is on the verge of something many never thought possible: a successful exit from the bailouts that have kept its debt-ridden economy afloat for the better part of a decade, Winnipeg reported.

And that’s not the only surprising sign of revival for a country that weathered the worst peacetime economic crisis of any industrialized nation since the Great Depression.Unemployment, which peaked near an eye-popping 30% in 2013, is down below 20% and falling. Once-stratospheric bond yields—a sign of investor panic—have landed safely back to earth.

Greece’s escape from what was once widely seen—even by its own government—as an indefinite slide into economic oblivion resonates well beyond the country’s borders. It reflects a return to relative normalcy across Europe, which, for the first time since the global financial crisis began in 2008, is looking economically vibrant, with a robust currency and, at least compared with its peers in the Anglosphere, less potential for market-rattling political maneuvers.

“Europe now has a story to tell: “We used to be the punching bag, but look at the US or look at the UK,’” said George Pagoulatos, a professor at the Athens University of Economics. “Europe has suddenly emerged as a pole of stability, and the euro is now clearly at the core of the European project.”

That is not to say that Greece or Europe are fully healed. For Greece, especially, the impact of a downturn that wiped out a quarter of the nation’s economic value runs deep, and is still vivid in the minds and pocketbooks of the country’s 11 million citizens.

But instead of managing endless emergencies, European leaders are now focused on trying to shore up the structure of their crisis-prone currency before the next storm hits. Instead of staving off bank foreclosures and government credit defaults, Greek politicians are debating how and when to share their growing budget surplus with taxpayers.

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