Verhofstadt: Greece is the symptom, not the cause of the crisis

Greece is the symptom and not the cause of the eurozone's debt crisis, Guy Verhofstadt has told Skai.

In Athens to present the ?Greece 2020? proposal for Greece's economic recovery, the former prime minister of Belgium, who currently heads the European alliance of Liberal Democrats, called for a new set of reforms aimed at overhauling the country's dysfunctional state sector and bolstering the free market.

Speaking to Skai, Verhofstadt criticized European politicians for failing to acknowledge that Greece was a symptom of a broader crisis in the eurozone and not the cause of the problem.

He also criticized the austerity measures commanded by the EU and the IMF, which include a reduction in wages and pensions, for failing to spur growth.

Speaking at the meeting on Monday, the Belgian said Greece should instead cut taxes and launch a growth-enhancement fund to break the vicious circle.

"What is needed is a radical change from the old system. The two main parties have so far only contributed to postponing the necessary reforms and largely contributed over the years to the desperate situation Greece currently finds itself in,» he said in a reference to PASOK and New Democracy.

"The problem is not the private sector but the public sector and the fact that many professions remain closed. Greece will not exit the crisis by asking its people for more and more sacrifices imposing more cuts in pay and pensions,» Verhofstadt said.

Elections are expected to take place on May 6.