It has taken just seven months for Greece to go from being an economy on the mend to a country on the brink of disaster.
It was only in November that figures showed the country had emerged from a six-year recession, one of the most savage the developed world has seen in modern history. Its economy had shrunk by a quarter and unemployment and poverty levels had swelled dramatically.
Public finances were also improving and there was even talk that Greece would soon be able to finance itself. It made a relatively successful dip into international bond markets in April 2014, the first since 2010.
For many in the country, the signs of recovery were a mirage. Greece was still lumbered with sky-high debts and budget austerity measures. The economy still needed fundamental change. Left-wing Syriza was elected in January on a mandate to end the austerity and get creditors to cut the national debt load.
Since then, after months of increasingly acrimonious talks between the new Greek government and its creditors, the country’s economic situation has not only gone into reverse, but turned into a financial nightmare. The government has shut the banks and imposed strict limits on money withdrawals and transfers.
On Tuesday, Greece will miss a debt payment to the International Monetary Fund, according to the government, and will see its five-year bailout program expire. A referendum scheduled for Sunday on the most recent proposals made by creditors could spell the end of the country’s 13-year membership of the euro currency.
Whatever happens, the Greek economy, which is already back in recession due to the rise in the uncertainty and constraints on credit, is set for more pain.
That’s some turnaround from November, when then Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said Greece was “back.”
Attached are images of the events since then, as captured by photographers from The Associated Press.
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