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Business

ECB: 'Greek euro exit manageable, but expensive'

A leading member of the European Central Bank's Executive Board has said a Greek farewell to the euro currency would eventually be manageable. But he warned the process could be chaotic and costly for the whole bloc.

German ECB Executive Board member Jörg Asmussen said euro area nations would be able to manage a Greek farewell to the single currency, but added that such a scenario would entail many hardships for all sides affected.

Asmussen told the Monday edition of the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper that his preference was for Greece to stay in the eurozone. "But it's in Greece's hands to achieve that, and a Greek exit would be manageable."

He added that such an exit would not be as orderly as many people imagined.

"It would spark a slump in growth, job losses and would be very expensive," Asmussen maintained.

Shuttle diplomacy

His comments came at the start of a crucial week for Greece as it aims to persuade partners to release more bailout aid to keep the economy afloat. Prime Minister Antonio Samaras is due to hold talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on August 25 and a day later there will be a round of talks with French President Francois Hollande.

The meetings will be held ahead of a key report by international creditors, due to be released in September and crucial for Athens' bid to secure more financial resources.

The Greek Finance Ministry said on Monday it would have no problems reimbursing maturing bonds held by the European Central Bank, saying the required sum of 3.2 billion euros ($3.9 billion) would be refunded without any delay.

hg/mz (Reuters, AFP)