BRUSSELS – Greece’s membership of the Eurozone was “irrevocable”, European Commission spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt said on Monday, amid press speculation of a possible ‘Grexit’ that would leave the country outside the euro area.
According to Breidthardt, the EU’s treaty clearly states that “euro membership is irrevocable,” and she declined to comment on a ‘Der Spiegel’ report regarding the possibility of a Greek exit from the Eurozone.
She referred to a statement by European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici on December 29, noting that the Commission was awaiting for the results of the Greek elections.
“Now the only statement that matters is the statement that the Greek voters will make on January 25,” she said.
“The euro is here to stay. The euro has proved its resilience,” she added, noting that the Eurozone was continuing to expand with the addition of Lithuania as its newest member this year.
In Germany, according to ANA-MPA correspondent F. Karaviti, German finance ministry spokeswoman Marianne Kothe expressed the German government’s conviction that Greece will continue to service its loans, in spite of the upcoming elections. She repeated a statement made by German government spokesman Georg Streiter on Sunday that the German government “expects Greece to continue to comply with its obligations,” and that any new government arising from the elections “has to abide by the contractual obligations of the previous government.”
She said that an issue of a default was not raised in any way at this time and that discussion of a possible Greek exit from the Eurozone was thus purely hypothetical.
At the same time, when asked whether the Eurozone would be able to cope with a Greek departure, Kothe noted that the euro area now had new mechanisms that could contain any threat of contagion.
She noted that the world had “moved on” since 2012 and effective measures had been set up precisely for the purpose of stabilising the Eurozone and arresting some forms of contagion.
Greek affairs and speculation about a possible Grexit continued to occupy the international media, especially in Germany following the ‘Der Spiegel’ article citing sources in the German government that the euro could now cope with such an event.
The German newspaper “Bild” took up the theme on Monday, with an article claiming that concerns over a new crisis in Greece had knocked the euro to its lowest point in the last nine years.
The Italian newspaper “La Repubblica” devoted two articles to Greek elections, including an interview with left-leaning economist and SYRIZA MP candidate Yanis Varoufakis calling for an end to “external interference” in the Greek pre-election campaign.
He said that Greece needed additional time to pay off its debt, once its economy had started to grow, while insisting that Greece must stay in the euro area, even though the euro’s design had been initially flawed.
Articles on the Greek elections were also run by the Italian version of the “Huffington Post”, the electronic version of Il Sole 24 Ore and again in “La Repubblica’s” internet version, which ran an article saying that a SYRIZA victory continued to spook the financial markets.
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Source: The National Herald
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