On Feb. 11 Athens was going up in flames. The Athenians set more than 40 buildings on fire, according to Bloomberg.com, during the weekend of Feb. 11 and 12. According to the Herald Sun website, more than 100,000 people marched on Parliament in Athens, resulting in over 60 arrests.
The riots resulted after Germany’s Angela Merkel created budget cuts for Greece, leading to less government workers and higher taxes for the rest of Greece. According to Nasdaq.com, Greece currently has an unemployment rate of 19 percent and the layoffs of government workers could increase unemployment by up to 3 percent, leaving Greece with an unemployment rate nearly doubled from 12.5 percent in 2010.
The European Union is pairing with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in bailing out Greece with approximately 130 billion Euros ($171 billion), according to an economictimes.com article. With the bailout comes higher expectations and standards for the Greek Economy. The same article says that leaders of Germany, Greece and Italy, are optimistic about the bailout plan.
The bailout is an attempt to stabilize the Eurozone and to keep economic and political stability.
The protests come from a greater economic crisis with the Euro. According to Europa.eu, Greece entered the Euro for their currency, in 2001. According to BBC news, the Euro was founded in 1999. It took two years for Greece to join because it did not meet the standards required.
According to BBC News, the Euro allowed Greece to borrow much more money than it had, leaving them in debt now and in an economic crisis.
All nations entering the Eurozone are required to meet certain economic standards. According to the Financial Times website, the standards set by Germany and France for nations to enter the Eurozone was too high. Nations like Greece were unable to meet their standards of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Growth and economic savings.
The Euro crisis is a debt crisis of all nations within the Eurozone, but Greece was hit first and hardest. Greece, unable to keep up with the Eurozone’s high standards, resulted in a collapse of the Greek economy. The bubble broke. The European Union had to decide whether to support Greece by bailing them out and enforcing harsher economic control, or to let them go broke.
Nations included in the Eurozone are Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.