As Greece prepares to emerge from one of the region’s most wrenching economic periods, its creditors are drawing up plans to ensure it is never a problem for the rest of Europe again.
European Union officials will unveil a blueprint in Brussels to help the beleaguered country stand on its own once it comes off its third financial bailout in August. They have heralded Greece’s revival, and pointed to the closing of its bailout as a symbolic end to a ruinous financial crisis.
Although European leaders are marking the country’s apparent success, new problems are lurking elsewhere in the region, putting pressure on Greece’s still fragile economy. Britain is plowing ahead with its withdrawal from the European Union. A trade war with the United States appears in the offing. The election of an anti-austerity government in Italy has revived fears about the euro, and jittery financial markets are again starting to target the currency union’s weakest links.
“The eurozone is most definitely not out of danger,” said Simon Tilford, chief economist for the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change in London. European governments still have not agreed to reforms that would insulate the eurozone economy if a new crisis arises, whether in Italy, Greece or over other issues like trade. “If the recovery peters out or there is shock of some kind,” he said, “the outlook will be much darker.”