Greek debt crisis
May 8, 2016

On Sunday, Greece's parliament approved legislation that overhauls the country's pension and tax system.

The austerity measures, demanded by Greece's creditors, are worth around $6.16 billion, and they include raising taxes, introducing a national pension, and recalculating some pensions, Reuters reports. Thousands of rioters gathered outside parliament to protest the bills, with some throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at police. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said lawmakers are "determined to make Greece stand on its two feet at any cost." On Monday, eurozone finance ministers will meet in Brussels to discuss Greece's debts and fiscal strategy. Catherine Garcia

August 11, 2015

On Tuesday, after 23 hours of talks, Greek officials emerged from a meeting with their international creditors and announced that they have mostly reached an agreement that will pave the way for a third bailout, worth up to €82 billion ($95 billion). "Finally, we have white smoke," a Greek finance ministry official told Reuters, making a reference to papal elections. "An agreement has been reached. Some minor details are being discussed right now."

Greece predicts that the final sticking points will be worked out in time for the Greek parliament to ratify the agreement on Wednesday or Thursday, giving eurozone finance ministers the chance to look it over on Friday. Athens is facing an Aug. 20 deadline for repaying €3.2 billion to the European Central Bank.

Germany, Greece's most consequential and skeptical creditor nation, isn't so bullish on the deal. Earlier Tuesday morning, German Deputy Finance Minister Jens Spahn said on TV that negotiations were still ongoing and would be concluded and vetted "calmly." The "negotiations have to be done thoroughly," he added, and the final deal "must hold for three years and not for three days." Peter Weber

August 3, 2015

Greece's main stock index fell over 22 percent on Monday as investors took advantage of their first opportunity since June 29 to react to the country's ongoing economic crisis, The Associated Press reports. Greek bank stocks were the hardest hit, reaching or nearing the daily trading limit of a 30 percent loss; markets in the rest of Europe were, for the most part, unaffected. Business and consumer confidence also plunged for the fifth consecutive month in July, according to the Economic Sentiment Indicator, dropping to its lowest level since October 2012.

Greece is expected to reenter a recession in the following months, despite having briefly emerged from a six-year contraction. Bailout talks continue, with a deadline of August 20, when a repayment of more than three billion euros is due to the European Central Bank. Jeva Lange

July 23, 2015

On Thursday, the Greek parliament passed a new round of reforms mandated by the country's main creditors as a precondition for talks to unlock €86 billion ($94 billion) in bailout money. The judicial and banking reforms passed early Thursday aren't quite as unpopular as the first round of euro zone/IMF–mandated tax hikes and budget cuts, but Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras still had to quash a rebellion in his own anti-austerity Syriza party to get a majority. In the end, 230 of parliament's 300 members approved the new measures.

Despite the unpopularity of the new austerity measures and tax hikes, Tsipras still has an enviable approval rating of more than 60 percent, according to a recent poll by Kapa Research. "It's not that people do not realize that Mr. Tsipras made mistakes," political analyst John Loulis tells The Wall Street Journal, "but he is at least credited with an effort to achieve something better" and facing down the Germans. It helps Tsipras, Loulis added, that "his political opponents are considered odious, rejectable. Greeks can't even consider having them back." You can watch a Reuters report on the new measures below. Peter Weber

July 19, 2015

After a three-week shutdown, banks in Greece are preparing to reopen on Monday.

Last week, Greece reached an agreement with its creditors that kept the country in the eurozone, and several changes are coming to the country, including an increase in value added tax on food in restaurants and public transportation, up from 13 percent to 23 percent. On Monday, Greeks will be able to take €420 ($454) out of ATMs once a week instead of only €60 ($65) a day, which is basically the same amount of money but will make it so people don't have to wait in long lines on a daily basis.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the German public broadcaster ARD that this "is not a normal life, so we have to negotiate quickly." She also said it would be possible to discuss changing the maturities of Greece's debt or reducing interest that the country has to pay after the first successful review of the bailout package to be negotiated, Reuters reports. Catherine Garcia

July 15, 2015

Before Greek MPs approved an austerity bill required under eurozone bailout terms, thousands of anti-austerity protesters took to the streets of Athens Wednesday, with mostly peaceful marches turning into violent clashes by nightfall.

Protesters in front of the parliament building shouted and carried banners that read "Cancel the bailout" and "No to the policies of the EU, the ECB, and the IMF," Agence France-Presse reports. Petrol bombs were thrown at police officers, who responded by throwing tear gas and sending protesters scrambling from Syntagma Square. Once a fairly common sight in Greece, violent clashes between protesters and police have become rare since the Syriza party came to power in January, AFP reports. Catherine Garcia

July 14, 2015

On Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund said if European leaders don't agree to significant debt relief for Greece, the fund would reverse its support for the country's bailout.

The IMF will play a critical role in a Greek bailout, since it will provide funding and supervise the country's compliance with the terms. A senior IMF official asking for anonymity told reporters that a new bailout "would have to meet our criteria," with one being "debt sustainability," The New York Times reports.

In a report released publicly Tuesday, the IMF proposed having creditors let Greece write off part of its more than €300 billion debt, or at least not have to make payments for 30 years. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has argued that if Greece's debt remains high, it will continue to stifle the economy, but creditors like Germany, the Netherlands, and Finland are reluctant to provide additional debt relief. Catherine Garcia

July 13, 2015

Yanis Varoufakis is an academic economist, and until a few days ago was the finance minister of Greece. Naturally enough, he likes to talk economics. Here's his description of what it was like to try that in the Eurogroup, the eurozone club of finance ministers:

It's not that it didn't go down well — it's that there was point blank refusal to engage in economic arguments. Point blank... You put forward an argument that you've really worked on — to make sure it's logically coherent — and you're just faced with blank stares. It is as if you haven't spoken. What you say is independent of what they say. You might as well have sung the Swedish national anthem — you'd have got the same reply. [New Statesman]

Varoufakis resigned after it became clear that his Syriza party was heading toward an agreement with eurozone lenders that will likely keep Greece in a recession for as far as the eye can see. How they got there is starting to make a lot more sense. Ryan Cooper

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