Definition of PIIGS

The PIIGS grouping – Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain – refers to five eurozone countries suffering weakened economies following the financial crisis.

Originally excluding Ireland, the term developed in the 1990s to represent the southern European economies. From 2008-09, it instead encapsulated the fiscal problems of these countries, with Ireland joining the grouping.

The unofficial title likens the countries based on their apparent similarities, although in reality each country’s debt problems stemmed from different issues. The term has come under fire from various corners and has been described as unhelpful and offensive. [1]

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