A Chronology of the Euro Zone’s Debt Crisis
Brussels. Some key events in the ongoing euro zone crisis: October 16, 2009: Incoming Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou tells parliament: “We have large hidden debts and spending.” April 23, 2010: Greece applies for an EU-International Monetary Fund bailout after it loses ability to borrow on markets. A three-year, 110 billion euro ($134 billion) loan package is announced May 2.
May 7-10, 2010: A temporary euro zone “firewall” is created, consisting of the 440 billion euro European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), 60 billion euros from the EU budget and 250 billion euros from the IMF.
July 23, 2010: EU “stress tests” of the banking sector fail seven institutions, but do not expose any problems in Ireland.
Sept. 30, 2010: Ireland announces it will need 46 billion euros to bail out its crippled banks, pushing its deficit to over 32 percent of gross domestic product.
Nov. 21, 2010: Ireland becomes the second euro member to apply for EU-IMF help. An 85 billion euro, three-year package, with total EU-IMF contributions amounting to 67.5 billion euros, is announced Nov. 28.
Dec. 16, 2010: EU summit agrees to the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), a permanent rescue fund to succeed the EFSF in July 2013. Its introduction is later brought forward by a year.
Feb. 25, 2011: Ireland’s ruling Fianna Fail party suffers catastrophic election defeat.
March 25, 2011: EU summit endorses tougher budget discipline, economic coordination rules and 500 billion euro funding for the ESM to prevent fresh euro zone crises.
April 6, 2011: Portugal applies for a bailout, two weeks after the parliamentary rejection of a key austerity package prompted the resignation of Prime Minister Jose Socrates. A three-year, 78-billion-euro EU-IMF loan is announced May 5.
July 15, 2011: Eight banks fail EU stress tests, while a ninth pulls out to avoid failure. Dexia passes, but three months later it has to be rescued by France, Belgium and Luxembourg.
July 22, 2011: Euro zone leaders announce a second bailout package for Greece, worth 109 billion euros. Banks are asked to accept a 21 percent loss on their Greek debt holdings; in October the contribution is hiked to 50 per cent.
Aug. 8, 2011: ECB announces bond market intervention. In return, Italy and Spain pledge to bolster their austerity and implement economic reform efforts.
Sept. 28, 2011: European Parliament approves the “six pack” — six pieces of legislation introducing greater budget discipline and EU oversight powers over national policies.
Nov. 10-16, 2011: Leaders in Greece and Italy resign and are replaced by technocrats with EU backgrounds.
Nov. 20, 2011: Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, a Socialist, is ousted from power.
Dec. 8, 2011: ECB launches LTRO program, which, by providing cheap loans to private banks, temporarily calms markets.
Between December and February, more than 1 trillion euros flow.
Dec. 9, 2011: EU summit approves the fiscal compact, a German-sponsored budget discipline treaty. Britain and the Czech Republic opt out.
Feb. 21, 2012: Second Greek bailout is revised upwards to 130 billion euros, plus a 100-billion-euro contribution from private creditors, the largest-ever sovereign debt restructuring deal.
March 29-30: Euro zone finance ministers agree to combine EFSF-ESM bailout resources during 2012-2013, creating a 800-billion-euro firewall. International partners had hoped for 1 trillion euros.
May 6: Francois Hollande defeats Sarkozy in French presidential elections.
May 6: Leftist SYRIZA party comes second in Greek elections on an anti-austerity ticket, leaving mainstream parties unable to form a governing majority. New elections are called for June 17.
May 25: Spanish lender Bankia says it needs 19 billion euros in state aid.
June 9: Euro zone says it can loan Spain up to 100 billion euros to recapitalize its banks.
June 17: Pro-bailout parties win a majority of seats in second Greek elections, easing fears of an imminent eurozone expulsion.
June 25: Cyprus becomes the fifth euro member to ask for an EU-IMF bailout, but also seeks help from Russia. Size of aid package still to be determined.
June 29-30: Summit agrees on ECB being given supervision powers over euro zone banks — the first step towards a banking union. Spain is promised that once that plan is implemented, the debt burden from eurozone bank loans will be taken off its balance sheet.
Italy claims victory on a deal to let euro zone rescue funds buy sovereign bonds of distressed euro zone nations without them having to comply with extra austerity measures. Finland, the Netherlands and Germany later question the arrangement.
July 5: ECB cuts rates to historic low of 0.75 percent.
July 9-10: Euro zone says Spain can have a 30 billion euro installment from its bank bailout for immediate needs and grants it a reprieve on deficit targets. As part of the deal, Spain announces new 65 billion euro austerity package.
July 16: German constitutional court says it will wait until September 12 to rule on legality of ESM.
July 24: Yields on Spanish 10 year bonds reach euro-era high of 7.62 per cent. Market jitters are calmed two days later by ECB pledge to do “whatever it takes” to save euro.
July 31: Euro zone unemployment rises to record 11.2 per cent for June.
Aug. 2: ECB disappoints markets by saying that it will act to reduce Spanish and Italian bond yields only if they first ask for ESM AND EFSF assistance and accept more economic reform commitments.