In January 2015, after several years of bailout-driven austerity implemented by centre-left and centre-right parties alike, Greek voters elected a new parliamentary majority dominated by Syriza, a radical left party risen to political centrality in a matter of months. Led by young and charismatic Alexis Tsipras, Syriza had campaigned on the rejection of the economic measures imposed on Greece by its international creditors and their representative institutions (the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, together known as the “Troika”), and indeed opposition to the whole ordoliberal paradigm governing the EU’s macroeconomic policies. The formation of Greece’s new government therefore marked the beginning of a period of intense political struggle between the country and its European partners and creditors—most notably Germany—which in many respects still goes on today.
Following Syriza’s rise to power, the Greek bailout saga has gone through numerous (and partly unexpected) twists and turns, clashes of personality (such as between Greece’s flamboyand finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and his hawkish German counterpart Wolfgang Schauble), and even the dusting off of historical rivalries. All the while, the possibility of a “Grexit” from the Eurozone has remained a “nuclear threat” used by both sides to their advantage. This timeline reconstructs the many chapters of this story, trying to capture it in all its complexity and angles. Very much like the Grexit question, the timeline is a constant work in progress, to which we will be adding new pieces as the saga evolves further.