Greece ‘not quit­ting’ euro

Athens de­nies Ger­man re­port about se­cret talks on re­vert­ing to drachma

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Greece was forced to deny last night that it has any in­ten­tion of leav­ing the eu­ro­zone or that it was dis­cussing a po­ten­tial exit with its Euro­pean part­ners af­ter a re­port in Ger­many sug­gested fi­nance min­is­ters were meet­ing in Lux­em­bourg to talk about Athens re­vert­ing to the drachma.

Spiegel On­line re­ported that Greece had raised the prospect of an exit with other coun­tries. Quot­ing “Ger­man gov­ern­ment sources knowl­edge­able of the sit­u­a­tion in Athens,” the In­ter­net ver­sion of the Ger­man weekly news mag­a­zine said eu­ro­zone fi­nance min­is­ters were meet­ing yes­ter­day evening to dis­cuss Greece’s sit­u­a­tion, and that a pos­si­ble re­struc­tur­ing of its debt as well as the is­sue of leav­ing the 17-mem­ber bloc would be on the agenda of the meet­ing.

“The re­port about Greece leav­ing the euro- zone is un­true,” Deputy Fi­nance Min­is­ter Filip­pos Sa­chini­dis told Reuters min­utes af­ter the Spiegel re­port ap­peared on the In­ter­net. “Such re­ports un­der­mine Greece and the euro and serve mar­ket spec­u­la­tion games.”

A few min­utes later, the Fi­nance Min­istry is­sued a for­mal re­jec­tion of the claims. “Apart from be­ing un­true, the re­port about Greece’s pos­si­ble exit from the eu­ro­zone has been writ­ten with an in­con­ceiv­able lack of se­ri­ous­ness even though the Greek gov­ern­ment and other EU mem­ber states have re­peat­edly de­nied such a case.”

The euro fell sharply on the for­eign ex­change mar­kets in late trad­ing and Athens said that the claims made by Spiegel On­line were dam­ag­ing for Greece and the sin­gle cur­rency. “Such pub­li­ca­tions are a provo­ca­tion, they un­der­mine the ef­forts of Greece and the euro and they serve the tricks of prof­i­teers,” said the Fi­nance Min­istry.

Greece’s as­ser­tion that no se­cret meet­ing was tak­ing place in Lux­em­bourg was backed up by other eu­ro­zone mem­bers. “I to­tally deny that there is a meet­ing, these re­ports are to­tally wrong,” Guy Schuller, a spokesman for JeanClaude Juncker, head of the group of eu­ro­zone fi­nance min­is­ters, told Reuters.

A spokesman for the Aus­trian Fi­nance Min­istry said a breakup of the bloc would be “ab­so­lutely un­think­able.” “Aus­tria is a mem­ber of the eu­ro­zone, we know of no such meet­ing and haven’t been in­vited, so I con­clude that there is no such meet­ing be­cause I do not be­lieve there can be a eu­ro­zone meet­ing with­out Aus­tria,” spokesman Thomas Waiglein said.

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