Updated on April 4, 2024
Article byWallstreetmojo Team
Edited byWallstreetmojo Team
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

Grexit Meaning

The term Grexit is a combination of Greece or greek with the word exit, which means an exit of Greece from the eurozone or European union. The Grexit was cropped up due to Greece’s possible withdrawal from the eurozone. The term was introduced by two famous economists of Citigroup, Ebrahim Rahbari and Willem H. Buiter, on February 6, 2012, which subsequently made headlines in media and major newspapers.


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The Grexit is critical for investors and others, including economists who tried to study the impact of the financial crisis on Greece itself and the world economy. The term Grexit became popular as Greek citizens proposed to leave the European Union and introduce local currency drachma as the official currency of Greece to ward off the country’s debt crisis.

Key Takeaways

  • Grexit, a term combining “Greece” and “exit,” refers to the possibility of Greece leaving the eurozone or the European Union. 
  • Coined by economists Willem H. Buiter and Ebrahim Rahbari in 2012, it gained media attention as Greece faced a financial crisis. The suggestion of adopting the drachma as the official currency to resolve the crisis popularized the term “Grexit.”
  • The Greek debt crisis was influenced by various factors, with Greece’s vulnerability to economic challenges becoming evident during the 2009 global financial crisis. The nation’s debt-to-GDP ratio reached a staggering 146% in 2010, highlighting the severity of its economic situation. 

Greece Timeline

Greece joined the eurozoneEurozoneThe Eurozone or Euro area is the monetary region constituting countries that have replaced their national currencies with the more in the year 2001, but the 2009 financial crisis left Greece as the epicenter of Europe’s debt problems. Greece started facing bankruptcy in 2010, which spread the fear of the second financial crisisFinancial CrisisThe term "financial crisis" refers to a situation in which the market's key financial assets experience a sharp decline in market value over a relatively short period of time, or when leading businesses are unable to pay their enormous debt, or when financing institutions face a liquidity crunch and are unable to return money to depositors, all of which cause panic in the capital markets and among more one after the other among the peer members. By then, many members had already assumed the exit of Greece from the eurozone, and the term Brexit cropped up.

Many factors were the apple of discord for the Greece debt crisis. The aftermath of the 2009 financial crisis clarifies the extent to which Greece was exposed to the terrible financial ordeal it was going through. In 2010 when Greece was heading towards bankruptcy Greece’s debt to GDP ratioDebt To GDP RatioThe debt to GDP ratio is a metric to compare a country's debt to its GDP and measures its capability to repay its debt. A country with a high ratio would not have difficulty repaying its debt but will not seek debt due to higher chances of more was exorbitantly high, 146%.

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Factors Behind the Grexit

Following are the main factors that lead to the Greece debt crisis:

Consequences of Grexit

The following are the consequences of Grexit.

Impact of Grexit


In conclusion, we could say that Grexit had been envisaged as bad for Greece in the short and long run.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Is Grexit good?

Advocates of Grexit might argue that it could provide Greece with more control over its monetary policy, allowing the country to devalue its currency and potentially boost exports and tourism. It may also enable Greece to address its economic challenges independently and tailor its policies to its specific needs.

2. Were there any measures taken to prevent a Grexit during the height of the crisis?

To prevent a Grexit during the crisis, various measures were taken. The European Union, along with the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, negotiated bailout packages for Greece to provide financial assistance and stabilize its economy. These bailout agreements came with conditions that required Greece to implement austerity measures and economic reforms to address its debt issues.

3. Is the possibility of a Grexit completely ruled out for the future, or could it resurface under certain circumstances?

While the immediate threat of Grexit was averted, the possibility of it resurfacing under certain circumstances cannot be entirely ruled out. Economic challenges, political instability, or shifts in the broader Eurozone dynamics could reignite discussions about Greece’s place in the currency union. 

This has been a guide to what Grexit is and its meaning. Here we discuss the impact and factors behind the Grexit along with consequences and Greece’s timeline. You can learn more from the following articles on Economics –

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