Eurozone bailout programme finally comes to an end
SEE ALSO :Varsities woes signal need for changeFive countries received bailout loans - Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Cyprus - and at the most intense points of the crisis there were genuine doubts about whether the eurozone would survive, or at the very least whether some countries would drop out. It has been a long haul for the eurozone, it has been eight years since the first bailout for Greece was agreed. This was a case of government spending running far ahead of what it could raise in taxes, and after a change of government in Athens it was revealed that the deficit was even larger than initially reported. The origins of the crises were different in other countries. In Spain and Ireland, it was a construction and property market boom that was financed by banks which then suffered heavy losses when the booms ended. In Portugal it was more a case of weak economic growth that undermined government tax revenue. That same problem has afflicted Italy, a country which didn’t get a bailout but was a recurrent cause of anxiety that if it needed one its debts were so large that the eurozone couldn’t afford to come to the rescue. Although the roots of the crises varied, there were similarities in the consequences, in particular a poisonous interaction between stressed government finances and stressed banks.