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Grexit 'beginning of the end of eurozone'

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Grexit 'beginning of the end of eurozone'
Alexis Tsipras. Photo: BKA/Andy Wenzel
10:05 CEST+02:00
A Greek exit from the eurozone would be the beginning of the end of the single currency, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was quoted as saying on Friday in an interview with an Austrian newspaper.

"The famous Grexit cannot be an option either for the Greeks or the European Union. This would be an irreversible step, it would be the beginning of the end of the eurozone," Austrian daily Kurier quoted Tsipras as saying, in an interview published in German.

"That would be very negative for the people of Europe. But I must remind you that the debate about a Grexit began when the application of strict savings programmes began," he said.

"The Greek government cannot absorb the savings programme forced upon it by the EU and the International Monetary Fund. The cuts would also not be positive for the Greek economy.

Greece would not become more competitive and the debts would also not be reduced. The whole concept needs to be changed," he added.

The comments were published after talks between finance ministers and Greece fell apart in Luxembourg on Thursday, leaving Athens with less than two weeks to unlock billions of euros in bailout funds to service its debts.

Greece has until the end of June to agree a reform deal in order to secure the remaining portion of an international bailout, which it needs to avoid defaulting on a €1.6 billion ($1.8 billion) IMF debt payment.

With Greece unwilling to agree to some austerity terms and creditors also not backing down, the country could end up defaulting, which could then lead to it leaving the eurozone.

Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem told a news conference: "It is still possible to find an agreement and extend the current programme before the end of the month but the ball is clearly in the Greek court to seize that last opportunity."

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