It could hardly be more obvious that this is not about money or fiscal sustainability, but about politics. This is a government that European authorities didn’t want, and they wish to show who is boss. And they really don’t want this government to succeed, which would encourage Spanish voters to opt for a democratic alternative — Podemos — later this year.
The IMF projected the economy to grow by 2.9 percent this year, and until the last month or so, there was good reason to believe that — as in 2014, after years of gross overestimates — its forecast would be on target. This growth would likely have kept Syriza’s approval ratings high, together with its measures to provide food and electricity to needy households and other progressive changes. The ECB’s actions, by destabilizing the economy and discouraging investment and consumption, will almost certainly slow Greece’s recovery and could be expected to undermine the government’s support.
If carried too far, European officials’ actions could inadvertently force Greece out of the euro — a dangerous strategy for all concerned. They should stop undermining the economic recovery that Greece will need if it is to achieve fiscal sustainability.