Behind the numbers: 5% of Greek bailout went to citizens

Article published on May 9, 2016
Article published on May 9, 2016

Cutbacks in public spending, increased taxes, reforms to pension and unemployment policies – these are just some of the effects that austerity measures have had on the Greek people. Since 2010, the country has received 215.9 billion euros in bailouts. Where did all that money go?

In the continuing back and forth between the Greek Government and the leaders of the EU, IMF and European Central bank, there are many different players in the process of finding a solution to Greek credit debt.

On the one hand, there are those creditors who lent money to Greece, and at any moment could demand to get it back. On the other hand sits the Greek Government led by Alexis Tsipras, in search of the perfect negotiation. Somewhere in the middle, there are Greek citizens paying the price of the extreme social situation they're living through.

Since 2010, the Hellenic country has received 215.9 billion euros that, nevertheless, seem not to have solved their problems. Instead, the difficulties that the population faces are becoming more and more evident.

But how have those funds been distributed? In the sea of numbers, one figure stands out: 5%. According to a study carried out by the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT) based in Berlin – titled Where did the Greek bailout money go? –this percentage, amounting to 9.7 billion euros, is the total proportion of the bailout that went on the Greek fiscal budget (and therefore citizens).

The rest is divided into three categories: 64% (139.2 billion) was used to repay existing debts and to pay for investments, 17% (37.3 billions) went to Greek banks, and the remaining 14% (29.7 billions) was used as incentives for private investment. The study backs up a regular accusation that the priority of the bailout was to save banks and private creditors, not the State and its citizens.

Between meetings of the Eurogroup, some political leaders, including Angela Merkel and Pierre Moscovici, discussed the best way to settle Greek debts. If the objective of such aid packages is to allow Greece to once again stand on its own two feet, shouldn't we be turning this number on its head?

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This article is part of our Behind the Numbers series, illustrating newsworthy stats with artistic design and a brief analysis.