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Ideology (not economics) explains why the Troika treated Ireland less harshly than Greece

Judith Clifton, Daniel Díaz-Fuentes and Ana Lara Gómez, (2018), “Ideology (not economics) explains why the Troika treated Ireland less harshly than Greece”LSE, European Politics & Policy, 14 November

The Troika terminated its harsh and protracted intervention into Greece in August this year. The third – and last – “Economic Adjustment Programme” that had run for three years imposing strict austerity measures is over, at last. However, opinion among policy-makers at the Commission and IMF, as well as among experts in general, is mixed as regards the success of this intervention. In the aftermath of the Troika’s intervention, Greece remains completely indebted and under strict supervision – creditors want to ensure they will be repaid. To pay them back, Greece is obliged to achieve budgetary surpluses through continued coercive measures, which will likely further impoverish its people.

The Greek experience is striking when compared to the Troika’s intervention in Ireland: a summary of both interventions is available in Table 1. In Ireland, though harsh, the measures demanded were lighter, more flexible, and simpler. They also ended much sooner than in the Greek case. Why was this the case? Arguably ideology, not economics, was the key factor.

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