Eurozone exit back on the table

Next month’s snap elections have reignited talk about a possible Greek exit from the eurozone, while statements insisting that the next government will see Athens sticking to its commitments are also on the increase.

Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici alluded to the possibility of an exit on Tuesday as he stated, “We hope Greece remains in the eurozone.” Leaning toward statements made by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble on Monday, the European commissioner said: “Whichever party wins, the commitments of Greece will have to be adhered to. That is all. It is the Greeks who have to choose freely. I repeat that they have the future in their hands.”

The French official went on to express his desire that Greece remains a eurozone member as that would be good for both sides with “respect to the commitments and above all the path of growth,” adding that “the Greek people have made efforts that are starting to bear fruit.”

On Monday, Moscovici had said he would not get involved in the Greek elections, but his statements yesterday were clearly directed at the Greek electorate as he indirectly put the issue of a Greek eurozone exit on the table. He further expressed his and the Commission’s desire for the election process to result “in a choice in favor of the reforms that are necessary for Greek economy.” He clarified that this was not a party issue, but a national requirement for Greece.

Spanish Finance Minister Luis de Guindos stated that “Greece will have to fulfill its pledges, not just because the troika is forcing it to, but because it is good for the future of the Greek economy.” He went on to remind that “Greece has received 210 billion euros from the eurozone, of which 26 billion euros has come from Spain,” which also faced a financial crisis and was forced to ask the European Union for help, “so that is evidence of solidarity. Thanks to that funding, which Greece could not secure from the markets, it managed to keep [in operation] all its public services.”