The transformation of syriza from a minor party struggling to enter parliament into a major governing party within a short period of time, its rule in the context of an economic crisis, and its resilience following four and a half years of governance make a very interesting story. syriza has been the only radical left populist party that has governed an EU country in recent times. This introductory article accounts for the factors that facilitated syriza’s catapulting to power, while the special issue assesses some of the main issues that the syriza-led government dealt with from 2015 to 2019. With the danger of oversimplifying a more complex picture, the special issue editors argue that syriza emerged as a serious contender to power owing to two factors: i) the errors in the economic policies of the governments that ruled during the 2010–2014 period, and ii) its successful exploitation of the opportunity to capitalize on the dynamics of a grassroots protest movement (the ‘Aganaktismenoi’) through the adoption of the movement’s populist discourses. The introduction then explicates the consolidation of syriza in the Greek political system and concludes with a brief presentation of the structure of the special issue.
The focus of this article is on the main aspects of economic governance in Greece during the period 2015–19 where the syriza-anel coalition party was in power. In August 2015, the syriza-anel government faced the dilemma either to accept a new agreement with the EU partners (as eventually happened) or go bankrupt and leave the Eurozone, becoming detached from EU solidarity mechanisms. A third program was agreed, offering Greece an additional €86 billion loan over a three-year period. The third programme was unnecessary considering that the syriza-anel governance inherited 0.8% growth rate and some progress in the structural reforms demanded during the first two agreements in 2010 and 2011. However, the political choices made had the consequence of Greece returning to recession in 2015 and 2016.
The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of international development assistance on economic growth in the case of four Southeast European countries, Albania, Bulgaria, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia, during the period 1991-2010. Foreign aid as additive to domestic savings is expected to cause an increase in economic growth and domestic savings. Surprisingly, our empirical results do not support this hypothesis, since foreign aid is negatively related to domestic savings. These results are consistent with the notion that foreign aid transfers can distort individual incentives, and hence hurt savings and growth, by encouraging rent-seeking as opposed to productive activities.