Europeans quash Grexit talk, parties tackle new issues

As some European officials sought to dampen talk of a possible Greek exit from the euro, New Democracy and SYRIZA on Tuesday broadened the scope of the debate ahead of the January 25 elections.

Several officials in Brussels rejected mounting speculation about Greece leaving the single currency if SYRIZA is elected to government later this month. “The euro is here to stay,” said European Commission spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt when questioned about the subject on Monday.

“There is absolutely no reason to discuss this subject,” said European Parliament President Martin Schulz in an interview with German TV station ZDF. “Greece is a member of the eurozone and I believe it will remain one.” The German social democrat added that if SYRIZA wins the election it will have to govern with other parties and be forced to water down its demands of the eurozone.

“Instead of talking about a possible Grexit, we should focus on solving the investment problem Greece and other countries are facing,” Guy Verhofstadt, the head of the Liberal group in the European Parliament, told the New York Times.

In Greece, meanwhile, SYRIZA hit back at New Democracy’s claims that a leftist government would force depositors to buy Greek T-bills by submitting 11 questions to the government referencing recent measures that have damaged depositors’ interests.

On Monday, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras visited the Greek-Turkish border in Evros and accused SYRIZA of having a soft stance on immigration issues. The comments provoked an angry reaction from coalition partner PASOK, which said that Greece had a “legal and moral” obligation to provide asylum to refugees.