BERLIN (Reuters) - A Greek exit from the euro zone could be a “very expense path” for the country, for Europe and also for Germany, European Central Bank policymaker Joerg Asmussen was quoted as saying, warning it should not be talked about lightly.
There has been a rumbling debate in Germany about the possibility of cutting debt-laden Greece free. Most would prefer not to, but an increasing number of lawmakers and influential figures have openly said the euro zone is strong enough to deal with the fallout.
Some leading German newspapers have also sounded increasingly eurosceptic in the past few months, warning of the expense of bailing out other European countries that become embroiled in the region’s three year old debt crisis.
“An exit could become a very expensive path economically for Greece, Europe and also for Germany,” the ECB executive board member was quoted as saying in Friday’s edition of Rheinische Post, adding a warning against “speaking lightly about an exit”.
“My preference is for Greece to stay in the euro zone. The key to that lies with Greece itself.”
Inspectors from the so-called troika of the International Monetary Fund, European Commission and ECB are in Athens to evaluate Greece’s progress on agreed targets before releasing the next, 32 billion euro ($41.30 billion), tranche from a 130 billion euro aid package.
Greece must come up with nearly 12 billion euros of extra cuts for the next two years to get the money, and it has fallen behind in reforms.
Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Alison Williams