Twenty years ago, Greece’s then Prime Minister Kostas Simitis made the first withdrawal of a euro banknote from a Greek bank, marking the official adoption of the euro and the switch away from the drachma.
Over the last two decades, the euro has overcome initial doubts, price concerns and a debt crisis to spread across the European continent.
George Pagoulatos, a leading professor, scholar and economist, joined the Hellenic American Leadership Council and Katherimini’s daily podcast, The Greek Current, to discuss the euro’s legacy in Greece.
During the 15-minute episode, Pagoulatos and host Thanos Davelis discuss how the Greek financial crisis impacted the euro, Europe’s response to the crisis and how Greece is shaping today’s debate over the single currency.
Pagoulatos says the three most pivotal “crisis moments,” when Greece came closest to leaving the eurozone, happened in 2010, 2012 and 2015. But as bad as the crisis became, he says, most people in Greece still kept faith in the euro.
“Apart from these three crisis moments, there was never a majority in the Greek public opinion or the Greek party system in support of exiting the euro,” Pagoulatos says. “Even in the darkest moments of the Greek crisis, there was always a majority in the Greek public in support of retaining the country in the euro and, of course, in the European Union.”
Pagoulatos currently serves as the director general of ELIAMEP, the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy. The Greeek native is also a professor of European politics and economy at the Athens University of Economics and Business and a visiting professor at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium.
Click here to listen to the full podcast episode.
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