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May 28, 2017

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Merkel urges solution to keep Greece in eurozone

BERLIN--German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a solution to keep Greece from leaving the eurozone this autumn, the weekly Der Spiegel said in a report to appear Monday.

"We must find a solution for Greece," Merkel told her inner circle, Der Spiegel reported without citing a source.

Merkel is said to have spoken the words before the most recent audit mission by the debt-burdened country's "troika" of bailout lenders: the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.

Der Spiegel added that Merkel and her advisors fear that a Greek exit would trigger a domino effect akin to what followed the 2008 collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers.

A Greek exit could cost Germany 62 billion euros (US$79 billion), the weekly recalled, adding that Merkel also considers the scenario fraught with political consequences.

It said Merkel wanted to avoid handing Athens a third rescue package, given her doubts over being able to get it passed in the German parliament, but added she was willing to adapt the current package by increasing the upcoming tranches and reducing ones further down the road.

Late last month, Merkel offered Greece a ray of hope when she stressed that she wanted the country to stay in the eurozone and pledged German help after crisis talks with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

"I want to say very clearly ... that Greece is part of the eurozone and I want Greece to remain part of the eurozone. This guides all our discussions," Merkel said at a joint news conference with Samaras.

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