Eurozone membership is “irrevocable”, the European Commission said today (5 December), after media reports about Greece leaving the single currency that triggered strong reactions in Athens. EURACTIV Greece reports.
Der Spiegel reported this weekend that Berlin considers “Grexit” almost unavoidable if the left-wing Syriza opposition party, which steadily leads all opinion polls, wins Greece’s parliamentary elections on 25 January.
Commission spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt, told reporters today that, according to the EU treaty law, “euro membership is irrevocable”.
EURACTIV Greece spoke with Greek politicians, who are deeply divided over Der Spiegel’s report and the possible exit of the debt-ridden country from the eurozone.
New Democracy: Spiegel’s warning is timely
Maria Spyraki, MEP and press official of the ruling centre-right New Democracy, told EURACTIV Greece that the German magazine was just describing a harsh reality.
“More than 75% of the Greek debt is in the hands of European public creditors, this means in the hands of the European taxpayer”, she said, adding that the Greek bond market is a rather shallow market, even after the recent bond issuing last April and July.
She added that there is only one thing every single analyst agrees on. “If Greece becomes a “failed” state, the Greek people will face a very harsh experience”, she noted. Spyraki also highlighted that in case Greece decided to dodge its obligations, stopped servicing its debt, and as a consequence faced liquidity bankruptcy and even left the eurozone, this would have little consequence on the bloc.
“Most analysts agree that there will be no significant consequences for systemic banks,” Spyraki said.
Syriza: The German publication is nonsense
Leading Syriza MEP, Giorgos Katrougkalos, made clear that there is neither legal provision [in the EU treaties] nor any intention of his party to abandon the eurozone.
“These reports serve the evident objective to terrorise the Greek electorate […] any kind of blackmail against Greece would destabilize the eurozone as a whole and therefore it will not be attempted,” he said.
Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen told EURACTIV Greece last month in Strasbourg that the EU executive “will respect democracy and is ready to cooperate with any government in Greece”, after the strong reactions triggered by Juncker’s interference in Greece’s presidential election process.