LONDON — Cyprus’ bailout deal is the fifth agreed on so far in the 17-strong group of European Union countries that use the euro since the debt crisis began in late 2009.
Here’s a look at the rescue programs:
GREECE — Greece has received two bailout packages from its eurozone partners and the International Monetary Fund. Its problems began in late 2009, when the government admitted that public debt was far higher than official statistics showed. That led it to accept a bailout package of 110 billion euros (worth $142 billion today) in May 2010. When it became clear that bailout was not enough — because the economy kept weakening — a second bailout was clinched in February 2012 for another 130 billion euros. That included a writedown on the value of Greek government bonds to lighten Athens’ debt burden.
IRELAND — Ireland’s banks suffered from their exposure to the U.S. mortgage market meltdown as well as to a collapse in the local housing sector. The government stepped in to guarantee creditors and deposits, but the move cost it dearly. As it rescued its banks, the costs grew and soon the government’s borrowing rates on bond markets rose so high it was unable to finance itself independently. It secured a 67.5 billion euro package in November 2010.
PORTUGAL — After Ireland’s rescue, investors turned their eyes to the next weakest country in the currency bloc. Portugal’s economy was weak and public finances shaky. The government’s borrowing rates in bond markets kept rising on fears it finances would prove unsustainable. By April 2011 talks on a bailout began. In May 2011, the country agreed to a package of 78 billion euros in rescue loans.