Five years ago, the Greek government admitted budget deficits far graver than initially suspected. Yields on Greek bonds spiked and when that panic spread to peripheral Europe, the Old World entered a new crisis.
Since then, five years have passed for the European Union to consider the causes of the crisis; five years to implement reforms, and five years to kickstart growth.
With some success, EU governments have faced the financial meltdown through their efforts to restore continental credibility and lay the foundations for a sustainable recovery. Once on the brink of fiscal crises, Spain, Ireland, Portugal and Italy have notably improved their public finances, restored competitiveness and carried out ambitious labor market reforms.
But as a growth-deprived Eurozone slips further into deflation and financial markets once again turn askance to Greece, this period of experiment clearly fell short of a full, robust economic recovery, to say the least. To critics from the business and public sectors, fiscal consolidation strategies failed and actually sparked avoidable unemployment, eventually proving counterproductive.
So where do we really stand? How did we get here? And what is left to do? To provide some answers, we sat down with some experts from both sides of the debate.