NEWS

Slovakia could demand Greece’s euro exit, PM says

Slovakia?s Prime Minister Robert Fico on Thursday threatened to ask debt-ridden Greece to quit the eurozone if Athens failed to apply austerity measures demanded by an international bailout.

?If the Greeks do not respect the conditions fixed to get their public finances back on track, Slovakia will join other (eurozone) states demanding Greece exit the eurozone,? Fico told reporters in Bratislava Thursday.

?The Slovak government is unanimous on this point,? Fico said, specifying that at the moment, Greece?s membership of the eurozone ?has more advantages than disadvantages?.

Now in its fifth year of recession, Greece holds its second parliamentary election in six weeks on Sunday, after a May vote failed to produce any workable majority.

Greek radical leftist leader Alexis Tsipras, seen as a likely winner in Sunday?s elections, has set himself a 10-day deadline to renegotiate an EU-IMF bailout which he claims is killing the country?s weakened economy.

French President Francois Hollande Wednesday warned Greeks that if Athens does not keep its bailout commitments, some of its eurozone partners will want it out of the bloc.

An ex-communist state which joined the EU in 2004 and the eurozone in 2009, Slovakia enacted its own austerity drive in 2009 aimed at extracting its export- driven economy from a recession sparked by the global crisis.

The measures worked and Slovakia saw output expand by 3.3 percent last year. The country?s economy is expected to grow by 2.5 percent this year, likely making the country the eurozone?s top performer. [AFP]