The German government is playing down a press report that it believes a Greek exit from the eurozone is almost inevitable should anti-austerity party Syriza win Greece’s January 25 election.
The online edition of Der Spiegel
also claims that Chancellor Angela Merkel considers that the eurozone could cope without Greece.
Officially the German government line is that it wants Greece to stay in the eurozone.
“We want Greece to stay…..It would cost a lot of money for Greece to go and it would also nullify four years of reforms in the country. That’s why we’re hoping for the elections to turn out in a way that would keep Greece on a pro-European course,” said ruling CDU politician Ralph Brinkhaus.
However Bernd Riexinger, chairman of the Left Party was highly critical of the reported comments from the chancellor:
“I believe an attempt to influence the election in Greece is being made here which is totally inappropriate. The Greek people must decide, and if they decide to elect Syriza, then it is a decision that must be respected.”
Syriza under leader Alexis Tsipras is narrowly ahead ahead in the polls. Its popularity is based on pledges to end austerity measures and to renegotiate the terms of the country’s bailout programme.
Economic adviser to Alexis Tsipras, Theodoros Paraskevopoulos stressed that the party wishes to stay in the eurozone:
“We just want to re-negotiate Greece’s debts and to find a way to make these debts payable.”
But there may not be much room for negotiation. Despite street protests, Greece’s international lenders are insisting Athens sticks to its austerity programme and pays off its bills.