Berlin Wants Greece To Stay In Euro Zone, Says Germany’s Vice Chancellor

January 7th, 2015 by James

Germany’s Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said the German government wants Greece to stay in the euro zone and there are no contingency plans to the contrary. Gabriel was responding to a media report that Berlin is of the view that the currency union could cope without Greece.

Sigmar Gabriel

Gabriel, the Economy Minister and leader of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), added the euro zone had become more resilient in recent years and could not be “blackmailed”.

“The goal of the German government, the European Union and even the government in Athens itself is to keep Greece in the euro zone,” Gabriel said in an interview to Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung. “There were no and there are no other plans to the contrary,” he said. Gabriel also said the euro zone had become far more stable in recent years.

“That’s why we can’t be blackmailed and why we expect the Greece government, no matter who leads it, to abide by the agreements made with the EU,” he said while referring to the January 25 Greek election and a possible change of government.

Earlier, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel, Georg Streiter, remarked that the government of Germany expects Greece to stick to the terms of its 240-billion euro EU/IMF bailout agreement.

A report in Der Spiegel magazine on Saturday said Berlin now believed the euro zone would be able to cope with a Greek exit, or “Grexit”, if necessary. Berlin considers “Grexit” almost unavoidable if the left-wing Syriza opposition party wins Greece’s election, Der Spiegel reported. Syriza wants to cancel austerity measures and a chunk of Greek debt.

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