Obama's New Memoirs Reveal The Role Germany And France Played In The Greek Austerity Program

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Obama's New Memoirs Reveal The Role Germany And France Played In The Greek Austerity Program

The newly released memoirs of former United States President Barack Obama, "A Promised Land" have revealed many of his inner thoughts on his time as president. Notably, they have also shed light on his views on the Greek debt crisis and the role of France and Germany during that crisis.

It is made clear in his writings that he believed that austerity was an unwise idea to foist upon the Greek people and that too much attention was given to the 'failures' of Greek governments instead of the role of France and Germany in predatory lending practices.

Within the memoirs, he states:

"I noticed that they rarely mentioned that German and French banks were some of Greece's biggest lenders, or that much of Greeks' accumulated debt had been racked up buying German and French exports – facts that might have made clear to voters why saving the Greeks from default amounted to saving their own banks and industries."

In reference to Germany and France's demands for austerity within Greece, he then writes:

"Maybe they worried that such an admission would turn voter attention away from failures of successive Greek governments and toward the failures of those German or French officials charged with supervising bank lending practices."

Greece faced a huge sovereign debt crisis following the global 2007-2008 financial crash which originated in the United States and many believed helped propel Obama into the presidency. During the crisis, Greece's Gross Domestic Product fell by more than 25% between 2009 and 2014. It also saw its debt to GDP ratio rise from 127% to 179%.

The Eurozone demanded that Greece make huge cuts to public spending in order to return its national finances to a sustainable level. This resulted in a huge increase in unemployment and a general fall in living standards. Unemployment even reached 28% of the general population and over 50% of the Greek youth were also put out of work. Suicides increased by a third and over 20,000 people were made homeless.

Throughout the subsequent years, Greece was given several bank bailouts by the Eurozone all attached with agreements that it would continue to slash public spending and privatise industries. Despite the election of the left-wing SYRIZA government in 2015 and a referendum in which Greeks overwhelmingly rejected a new bailout package, the Greek state eventually capitulated to the Eurozone demands. Many point out that many of Greece's economic problems come from the fact that it was unable to print or manage its own currency and therefore was reliant on decisions made by larger more developed economies, particularly in France and Germany.

It is interesting to note that the most powerful man in the world at the time, President Obama, had severe reservations about the policies the Eurozone were taking towards Greece, but it remains unclear whether he could have done more at the time to improve the situation.

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Thinking Humanity: Obama's New Memoirs Reveal The Role Germany And France Played In The Greek Austerity Program
Obama's New Memoirs Reveal The Role Germany And France Played In The Greek Austerity Program
The newly released memoirs of former United States President Barack Obama, "A Promised Land" have revealed many of his inner thoughts on his time as p
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