NEWS

Most Greeks oppose return to drachma

The majority Greeks believe that a return to the drachma would only worsen the country?s dire economic situation while nearly a third think it likely that Greece will exit the eurozone, according to a survey carried out by polling firm Public Issue on behalf of Kathimerini.

The survey, which was carried out on a sample of 500 people from across the country earlier this month, showed that 66 percent believed things would get worse for Greece if it gives up the euro and returns to its original currency. Only 16 percent said they thought life would improve with the drachma while 10 percent said they thought nothing would change.

As for the possibility of Greece leaving the eurozone – an eventuality that the country?s international creditors have ruled out but which remains the focus of many speculators – only 28 percent of respondents said they regarded this as a likely scenario.

The survey revealed that most Greeks – though not an extremely large majority – support the euro.

A total of 58 percent said they believed being part of a common European currency was good for Greece.

The percentage has fallen since 2001 when the euro came into circulation in Greece and when 72 percent of Greeks had expressed their support for it, according to the European Union?s statistics service. The rate of Greek support was above the eurozone average of 66 percent.

Over the weekend Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and senior officials of the European Central Bank – one of Greece?s foreign creditors – ruled out debt restructuring once again despite calls last week by Eurogroup Chairman Jean-Claude Juncker for ?a soft restructuring? that would be carried out by extending the maturities on Greece?s debt. The ECB fears such a move would destabilize the euro.