Juncker: Don't bet on a Grexit
The eurogroup chief has warned not to expect a Greek exit from the eurozone, saying the country's reform programme will depend on the results of an international troika of inspectors visiting Athens next month.
Jean-Claude Juncker said Greece was facing its "last chance", but added that Greece's exit from the eurozone would be a "major risk" for other countries.
"As regards the lengthening of the adjustment, I would say, that this will depend on the findings of the troika mission," Mr Juncker said after a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. "I am totally opposed to the exit of Greece from the euro area."
As investors waited nervously for news from the Juncker-Samaras meeting, the FTSE fell 1.4%, Germany's DAX dropped 1.0% and the French CAC lost 1.5% of its value.
In an interview with the German newspaper Bild earlier, Mr Samaras asked for "breathing space" in which to revive the Greek economy. He said Greece was not asking for more money, just more time.
But a senior member of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrat party in Germany this morning played down the possibility of Greece being shown further leniency. Dr Michael Fuchs pointed out that Greece had already been given “much more time than was originally planned” to enact the reforms required by the package.
Speaking on the Today programme, Dr Fuchs also insisted the rest of the eurozone would be able to survive a Greek exit from the single currency as appropriate precautions had already been taken to prevent a “domino effect”.
He said: “Everybody is prepared as far as Greece is concerned. If Greece is going to leave, I don’t think it’s going to have a very great impact anymore.”
Mr Samaras' meeting today marks the first of three crucial rounds of talk, as he will travel to Berlin to see Angela Merkel on Friday, before meeting Francois Hollande in Paris on Saturday.