The European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have come up with more money (over 130bn euros) to loan to Greece to help the country with its financial problems.
In 2010, Greece’s debt had become a serious issue. The country had a huge loan and did not have money to pay back the portion that was due. When a country is unable to pay back its loan, it gets harder for the country to get more loans. It can also reduce the value of its currency. Greece’s debt was also a concern for some other European nations because they use the same currency called “euro”. If the euro’s value goes down, it financially hurts these other countries as well.
The currency of a country is what people use to buy and sell things in that particular country. For example, the currency of the United States is the U.S. dollar. The euro (sign: €) is a relatively new currency. It was introduced just ten years ago. Since then, the euro has been adopted by 17 EU countries and a few non-EU countries as their currency.
Greece gave up its drachma to adopt the euro in 2002. Once Greece adopted the euro, it became easier for it to borrow money. The government spent much more than it could afford, and kept borrowing to make up the gap. As a result, the country accumulated a big debt. In 2010, the EU along with the IMF agreed to loan Greece money, as long as Greece reduced its spending. To save money, the government raised taxes, cut jobs, and reduced salaries. This made the citizens very unhappy because they suffered for the problems created by the government. The Greeks have held many protests since 2010. They’ve thrown stones, shoes, rocks, and even garbage at their country’s police and government buildings. They’ve at times shut schools and offices, and stopped trains and buses from operating. Greece’s prime minister resigned last year because he lost support in the nation. However, the government still needs more money. The EU and the IMF are giving Greece more financial help with the expectation that Greece will reduce its spending even further. (The IMF is an international organization that lends money to countries with financial problems)
The idea of “democracy”, a society where citizens can vote and make decisions about laws, and can choose their rulers, is believed to have been invented in Greece over 2500 years ago. One of the oldest know democracies was established in Athens, now the capital of Greece. Today in Greece, voting is compulsory.
Did you know?
The word “barbarian” comes from the Greek word “barbaros”, which was used by the Greeks as a word for “non-Greeks”, because the different languages sounded to the Greeks like the sound “bar-bar…”!