Greece, Portugal, Italy, Spain and…Slovenia? Say hello to the newest member of the euro club of troubled nations. The New York Times profiles the country:
Small, affluent and westward-leaning, Slovenia was welcomed with open arms into the European Union in 2004 and slipped, almost unnoticed, into the euro union three years later.
Yet five years later, this alpine nation with two million people risks the dubious distinction of becoming the first former socialist country in the European Union to need a bailout.Janez Jansa, the Slovenian prime minister, warned last month that debt troubles could eventually force him to seek European aid. And his government has already promised to put up guarantees of as much as 4 billion euros, ($5.2 billion) — more than 11 percent of gross domestic product — to help the country’s banking sector unwind bad real estate and commercial loans.
Read the whole thing. It just goes to show how profound the euro crisis is becoming. Slovenia was held up as a model for EU accession. Of all the former republics of Yugoslavia, the Slovenes were the most disciplined and their standard of living among the highest in all of Eastern Europe. Yet it, too, is starting to buckle as the forces tearing the eurozone apart make the consequences of bad economic decisions unbearably painful.