Euro area must strive to avoid Greek exit, Moscovici says

The European Union’s Economic Affairs Commissioner underscored the need for the EU to avoid Greece leaving the euro area after officials publicly raised the prospect of the debt-riddled nation exiting the currency bloc.

“Any country which leaves the euro, or which suffers inside the framework of the eurozone, is a problem for the European project and for the euro project,” Pierre Moscovici told a conference in Brussels on Tuesday. “That’s why we need to avoid it.”

Requiring an agreement with creditors to unlock aid before the euro area’s bailout program expires on June 30, Greece has resisted demands to present plans for further cuts in pension spending and more tax increases.

Michael Grosse-Broemer, the parliamentary majority whip for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, told reporters on Tuesday in Berlin that a Greek exit from the euro area is possible if a “solid” agreement doesn’t emerge.

While the bloc is now strong enough to address “any kind of situation,” the significance of the euro area is larger than just a group of countries with fixed exchange rates, Moscovici said.

“I’m attached to two characteristics of the euro,” he said. “The first one is integrity and the second one is irreversibility.”