NEWS

Suspend Greece from euro, says former French president Giscard d’Estaing

suspend-greece-from-euro-says-former-french-president-giscard-d-amp-8217-estaing

Former French president Valery Giscard d'Estaing, an architect of Greece's entry into the European Union (EU) in 1981, said Monday the country should be suspended from the euro.

"Greece must be put on hold from the euro," since its voters have "abandoned economic union, and therefore indirectly monetary union," Giscard told the magazine L'Express in an interview published Monday.

He was referring to the election of the radical left-wing SYRIZA party of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras earlier this year – "a choice confirmed by the referendum" on Sunday in which voters resoundingly rejected further austerity measures.

Giscard had already called for a "friendly exit" for Greece from the eurozone back in February, saying that articles 108 and 109 of the euros founding Maastricht Treaty could make that possible.

The articles apply to countries that wish to join the EU without adopting the euro currency. But Giscard said "it is also possible to use them for placing (Greece) on hold."

The former president, who governed from 1974 to 1981, said he had "no regrets at all" about Greece's entry into the EU that he fostered.

But he said Greece's adoption of the euro in 2001 was a "mistake" as its leaders "neither wanted nor planned to follow eurozone policies" on limiting debt and deficits.

His comments echoed those of former prime minister Alain Juppe, a leading candidate for the French presidency in 2017, who said Monday that Greece should be helped to leave the euro "without drama."

[AFP]