The Greek economic crisis dominated the international headlines for much of 2010–16. It was the first and most acute case in the sovereigndebt crisis that emerged in the eurozone during that time. The fact that Greece received three bailouts and is the only eurozone member not to have exited its ‘adjustment programme’ points to the extreme conditions of the case. More than any other episode in the history of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), the Greek crisis encapsulates the vulnerabilities and dilemmas inherent in the two-level governance – European and national – of the single currency. It also highlights the lack of preparedness for the crisis, owing in large part to the inadequate provisions of the Maastricht Treaty; the challenges of creating a mechanism for domestic intervention, especially in light of low-quality national institutions that struggle to deliver reform; the conflicts of interest that arise from loan conditionality; and normative issues that are prompted concerning choice and democratic accountability. The bailouts brought the EU into uncharted territory and raised existential questions about EMU’s operation. For Greece, the strains on its institutional capacity were exacerbated by the onset of a second crisis: that of handling thousands of new migrants, desperate to flee conflicts in Syria and beyond, entering the country from Turkey. In 2015 alone, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) calculated that 856,723 migrants arrived in Greece by sea. The country already had a poor record in processing asylum-seekers and flows on this scale overwhelmed the public authorities.
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- Greece: A Crisis in Two-Level Governance
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- Chapter 12