Greece

Esther Bintliff

German chancellor Angela Merkel with Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras on October 9 in Athens (Thanassis Stavrakis/AFP/GettyImages)

The last time Angela Merkel visited Greece was in 2007 – which, incidentally, was also the last year the country recorded positive economic growth. Greece has seen its annual output shrink ever since; its economy rocked by a debt crisis, its political leaders repeatedly forced to go cap in hand to its richer eurozone cousins. Of these, Germany is the most important, but opinion polls suggest its public has long grown impatient with Athens’ failure to keep its promises. Locked in an embrace that neither would have chosen – Germany attempting to pull Greece out of its fiscal crisis; Greece, ever more dependent on Berlin’s support, but resenting its interference – the question is whether the two countries will hug tighter, or finally break apart. Could Merkel’s meeting with Antonis Samaras on Tuesday herald a friendlier era? Read more

Tony Barber

Greece is usually labelled the eurozone’s most reform-resistant economy, but perhaps that’s because Cyprus slips under most people’s radars, writes Tony Barber. Read more

Tony Barber

If Greek citizens aren’t angry enough at the condescending and ignorant manner in which northern Europeans discuss their plight, I invite them to inspect the opinions of Jürgen Ligi, Estonia’s finance minister.

An interview with Mr Ligi appeared on Monday on the extremely handy European affairs blog that is published by the London School of Economics.

In answer to the question “Do you think that austerity measures in countries like Greece have gone far enough?”, here’s what the Estonian minister said:

“I honestly haven’t seen any austerity in Greece. It’s a rich country with a high level of consumption, and the present situation in Greece is far better than what we experienced in Estonia in the early 1990s. They are spending a lot – much more than they earn – so it can’t be called austerity.”

Let’s think about that.

Greece is projected next year to endure its sixth consecutive year of deep recession. By then, economic output will be 25 per cent below the peak of the boom years that marked Greece’s initial experience of eurozone membership. Read more

Here are today’s reading nuggets for you:

Here are some articles that we can recommend today:

A new dawn for Greece? Photo AP

Welcome to our rolling coverage of the eurozone, following  a narrow victory for parties supporting the bailout in Greece’s election. By Tom Burgis and John Aglionby in London and Shannon Bond in New York, with contributions from FT correspondents around the world. All times are London time.

23.40 Alright folks, we’re wrapping up for the night, but you can keep up with the latest developments on FT.com. Here are some of our top stories from Monday:

 Read more

Tony Barber

It was as if a magician’s wand had waved away the crisis. Shortly after
midnight, central Athens erupted in joy. Car horns blared and strangers
embraced in the darkness. Over the past 24 months of debt-driven
disaster, I’ve never seen Greeks so happy.

At the Euro 2012 football tournament, Greece had just defied the odds and
beaten Russia 1-0 in Warsaw’s national stadium. Amazingly, they’ve made
it to the quarter-finals and the nation is celebrating. Read more

Daniel Garrahan reports from Athens on whether Sunday’s poll will produce a leader that can keep the country in the euro.

Esther Bintliff

A family beg on the street on June 13 in Athens. Oli Scarff/Getty Images

A family beg on a street on in Athens, June 13, 2012. Oli Scarff/Getty Images

On Sunday, Greeks will go to the polls for the second time in two months. The inconclusive election of May 6, in which no single party gained more than 20 per cent of the vote, reflected the views of an electorate deeply disillusioned with the two political parties that had taken turns to govern Greece since the end of military dictatorship in 1974 – New Democracy on the centre-right, and Pasok on the centre-left.

The far-left Syriza coalition, led by a young firebrand called Alexis Tsipras, surged into second-place, striking fear into the heart of Brussels with a promise to challenge the consensus that Greece had to stick to stringent austerity in order to please its European paymasters.

Billed as the election that could decide Greece’s fate in the eurozone, voters face an almost impossible choice this weekend – between the parties of an old, inept political order, and something new but untested. Here is some of the best news, analysis and comment on the subject from the FT and elsewhere: Read more