Europe's Romance with Greece
This mystification worked again in 2001, when Greece entered the Eurozone—the economic and monetary union of over a dozen (but not all) EU states—without, again, fulfilling any of the necessary conditions for membership. We’re currently blaming Greek leaders for cooking their financial books, which the markets eventually discovered. They are not solely culpable, though: in 2001, European leaders knew and said, privately, that the Greek state’s numbers didn’t add up. The International Olympic Committee similarly knew that Greece couldn’t afford to host a modern Olympics, but it awarded the 2004 games to Athens anyway—the original birthplace (roughly) of the games in antiquity, before Pierre de Coubertin reinvented them in 1896. How could they say no to such a romantic idea?
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