"The fiscal developments in Greece are paradigmatic of the tragedy of the Euro and its incentives. When Greece entered the EMU, three factors combined to generate excessive deficits. First, Greece was admitted at a very high exchange rate. At this rate and prevailing wages, many workers were uncompetitive compared with the more highly capitalized workers from northern countries. To alleviate this problem, the alternatives were to (1) reduce wage rates to increase productivity, (2) increase government spending to subsidize unemployment (by unemployment benefits or early retirement schemes) or (3) employ these uncompetitive workers directly as public workers. Owing to strong labor unions the first alternative was put aside. Politicians chose the second and third alternatives which implied higher deficits."
Philipp Bagus, in "The Tragedy of the Euro", p. 93