European officials are trying to dampen fears that Greece could be pushed out of the Eurozone if the anti-austerity major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) wins Jan. 25 elections and comes to govern.
That comes as the poll-leading major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), which wants to re-do bailout deals with international lenders and the ruling New Democracy Conservatives of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras tangled anew in a testy campaign.
Several officials in Brussels said, however, that even if SYRIZA wins that there’s little chance of Greece leaving the Eurozone although the Leftists have warned they may renege on the country’s debt unless the tough conditions that came with two bailouts of 240 billion euros ($306 billion) are renegotiated.
“The euro is here to stay,” said European Commission spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt when questioned about the subject.
“There is absolutely no reason to discuss this subject,” said European Parliament President Martin Schulz in an interview with German TV station ZDF.
“Greece is a member of the Eurozone and I believe it will remain one,” he said. But the German social democrat added that if SYRIZA wins the election it will have to govern with other parties and be forced to water down its demands of the Eurozone, although the Leftists said they don’t want a coalition.
“Instead of talking about a possible Grexit, we should focus on solving the investment problem Greece and other countries are facing,” Guy Verhofstadt, the head of the Liberal group in the European Parliament, told the New York Times.
SYRIZA hit back at New Democracy’s claims that a leftist government would force depositors to buy Greek Treasury bills and threaten their accounts by submitting 11 questions to the government referencing recent measures that have damaged depositors’ interests.
Samaras, during a visit to the Greek-Turkish border in Evros, accused SYRIZA of having a soft stance on immigration issues.
The comments provoked an angry reaction from coalition partner PASOK, which said that Greece had a “legal and moral” obligation to provide asylum to refugees, creating another divide with New Democracy.
In 2012, Samaras’ platform included a get-tough stance on illegal immigrants whom he wanted deported.