The member countries of the eurozone are not obligated to rescue Greece from its current economic crisis, the senior member of the Germany’s ruling political party, Christian Democratic Union, Michael Fuchs said on Wednesday.
Fuchs said he believes Greece no longer has systemic importance for the euro bloc, and warned that Athens may lose the economic support it has since the crisis started in 2009.
“The times where we had to rescue Greece are over. There is no potential for political blackmail anymore. Greece is no longer of systematic importance for the euro,” said Fuchs in an interview with the Rheinische Post Wednesday.
Since 2009, Greece has been rescued twice with loans worth about US$330 billion granted by the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank.
Fuchs said that if Greece wishes to remain a member of the eurozone it must start paying the bailout debt shortly after the parliamentary elections scheduled for January 25.
His statements came after members of the Greek leftist Syriza party, which is leading the election polls, announced they want to cancel the austerity policies imposed on Greece as a condition for the international bailout.
Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras said Greece will stay in the eurozone and Europe should erase a big part of the debt. (Photo: Reuters)
“If Alexis Tsipras of the Greek left party Syriza thinks he can cut back the reform efforts and austerity measures, then the troika will have to cut back the credits for Greece,” said Fuchs.
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras also warned Tuesday that the country may be ousted from the eurozone if Syriza manages to cancel the austerity policies which secured the international bailout during the past five years.
Samaras said, “This struggle will determine whether Greece stays in Europe.”
Meanwhile, the head of the Institute for Economic Research Hans-Werner Sinn said to the daily Tagesspiegel, that one of the best options for Greece is to exit from the eurozone.
He added that, “Further debt cuts will be needed again and again, unless the country is released from the eurozone and allowed to regain its competitiveness by devaluation.”
The Syriza party promises that they will try to keep Greece in the eurozone by start paying the national debt along with canceling the austerity measures imposed since 2009. Greece has lost a third of their disposable income since the crisis started.