Conflicting narratives of Greece in 2015 portrayed it as victim of German greed and its export-driven economy and as villain for borrowing $273 billion it could never hope to repay. Both have truth, but the confrontation in Brussels between debtor and creditors was long in coming and the result of error on both sides. While an interim agreement was reached on 20 February 2015 to extend Greece's bailout by four months, the longer-term outcome was far from clear. Social and economic pressures had been building in Greece since 2008, resulting in the 25 January 2015 election of a radical government pledged to end austerity, reverse privatization, and reforms and to achieve at least partial debt forgiveness. A Greek departure from the eurozone was possible. A Greece adrift would leave it vulnerable to the blandishments of Russia, China, and other parties. Should such a shift occur, it would haunt the European Union in future crises of its southern tier or with other weaker member states.
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