Head of euro group refuses to consider Greek exit | News | DW | 15.05.2012
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Head of euro group refuses to consider Greek exit

Some media and politicians in Europe have started to hint openly about Greece leaving the eurozone as a result of its unresolved debt crisis. Greece has at least one ally still in its corner.

A meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels continues on Tuesday, with the latest word on Greece from the group's chairman, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, being that a Greek exit from the eurozone was a preposterous notion.

"I don't envisage, not even for one second, Greece leaving," Juncker said after the first round of the meeting on Monday night. "This is nonsense. This is propaganda."

Juncker added that no one in Monday night's meeting had raised the subject.

However, in comments outside the meeting, other EU politicians have suggested that their once-strict opposition to Greece leaving the eurozone may be softening.

Nine days of indecision

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it would be "better" for Greece to stay in the eurozone, which contrasts with her previous stance that Greece must stay.

Last week, Merkel's finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, said that while Germany would prefer to have Greece stay in the eurozone, it "can't force anyone" to remain and that "Europe won't sink that easily" if Greece did end up leaving.

German media has been more bold, with the widely read news magazine Der Spiegel running a cover story with the headline, "Acropolis, Adieu! Why Greece must leave the eurozone now."

Before any serious discussion can be made about the future of Greece, be it restructuring the terms of EU-IMF loans that have been keeping Greece afloat for several months or the drastic step of Greece abandoning the euro, Greece needs to form a government after parliamentary elections on May 6.

Since then, the parties elected have spent nine days without reaching a coalition agreement. That makes fresh elections, which will further complicate Greece's eurozone standing, a strong possibility in June.

mz/ipj (AFP, AP, dpa)