Following six long years of recession, which reduced Greece's economy by a quarter of its size and rose unemployment to 28%, Greece is finally expected to stabilize and begin its economic comeback in 2014. A poll of 35 economists and strategists suggested an expected growth rate of 0.3% for the Greek economy, while analysts at the International Monetary Fund and European Union proposed a slightly more optimistic 0.6% rate.
The road to stabilization in Greece saw the economy experience some of the worst conditions throughout the global financial crisis. In the lowest periods of the crisis, Greece's debts had amounted to 170% of its GDP. Since 2010, Greece has been dependent on international rescue funds in exchange for large spending cuts and necessary reforms in order to correct fiscal imbalances. The Greek economy only ended its absence from debt markets earlier this month, seeing as raising 3 billion euros with a five-year bond managed to draw back investors looking positively at the country's recovery prospects.
Similarly to Greece, several other EU countries are expected to regain their economic composure in 2014. Ireland is expected to outpace several European countries in economic growth, with 1.7% projected in 2014 and 2.5% in 2015. Portugal, which is set on exiting its international bailout in May, is also expected to achieve growth in 2014 at 1.2%, while its Iberian neighbor Spain is also expected to shrug off its recession with a 0.8% growth rate in 2014 and 1.3% in 2015.
Clearly, as the global economy has persevered through the depths of the financial crisis and is now experiencing growth once more, some of Europe's notoriously imbalanced and struggling economies are following suit on the road to recovery. Several serious economic issues still plague these economies described above, such as high budget deficits and unemployment rates, but the substantial reforms that the crisis imperatively imposed on them are now beginning to reap some benefits. The road to full recovery will be long for the euro zone's troubled economies, but the fiscal bleeding has stopped and prospects are finally showing a positive future for these nations and investors looking to do business in the EU.