Outgoing European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi says that he was never part of the camp that wanted “to let Greece go” from the eurozone during the deadlock between lenders and the then recently elected SYRIZA party in 2015.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Financial Times published on Monday, Draghi says that he reacted to accusations that the ECB should have cut off credit to Athens long before the 2015 breakdown in negotiations, saying “if you want to push Greece out of the euro, then you do it, don’t use the ECB to do it.”
The FT said the claim is believed to have come from Germany’s then finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, with whom Draghi often clashed over fiscal policy.
Greece, Draghi said, has paid a “terrible” price for the eurozone crisis.
“[The crisis] was overcome first thanks to what the Greek citizens had been able to achieve. But solidarity in the eurozone has been beneficial. It is very difficult for an isolated country which defaults to go back to normal,” he says.
Draghi is expected in Athens on Tuesday, meanwhile, where he will attend an event in his honor and meet with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.