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EU chief: suggestion of Greek exit is 'nonsense' and 'propaganda'

Meanwhile, more coalition talks.

A Greek man walks past metal sheeting sprayed with a slogan in English reading
A Greek man walks past metal sheeting sprayed with a slogan in English reading "Can a revolution be selfish", that covers the facade of a post office branch in Syntagma Square, central Athens.
Image: Petros Giannakouris/AP/Press Association Images

POWERSHARING TALKS ARE to resume in Athens today as euro chiefs move to ridicule any suggestion of Greece exiting the eurozone.

Luxembourg Prime Minister and head of the eurogroup of finance ministers Jean-Claude Juncker dismissed talk of a Greece leaving the euro as “nonsense” and “propaganda”, reports Bloomberg.

Offering a friendly word to Athens, he added: “The government would have to stand by the program…if there are dramatic changes in circumstances, we wouldn’t close ourselves off to a debate over extending the deadlines.”

According to RTÉ, Juncker said the idea of a Greek exit was not even discussed at yesterday’s meeting. There is an “unshakeable desire” to keep Greece in the euro, he said.

EU Commissioner Olli Rehn continued, “Solidarity is a two-way street. We expect that the commitments are respected and the fiscal targets are a core part of the commitments.”

Attempts to form a coalition government were again fruitless last night, leaving the door open for yet another general election. On 6 May, the electorate fractured their vote among a number of parties who cannot agree on the bailout programme or austerity measures.

The second biggest winner, Syriza, a leftist party which holds 52 parliament seats pulled out of yesterday’s discussions, stating they would not enter government with any party who supported an international rescue package.

However, party leader Alexis Tsipras is understood to be joining other politicians today as President Karolos Papoulias calls yet another round – the ninth – of post-election discussions.

Four parties will attend today – Syriza, New Democracy, Pasok and the Democratic Left. Hardline Communists and extreme-right Golden Dawn have not been invited to partake. Papoulias has suggested a government of technocrats, described by BBC as “distinguished and political figures”.

Markets were rattled this morning by the ongoing uncertainty in Greece as investors still fear a destabilising exit. The euro fell for the 10th time in 11 days and Spanish bond yields hit a five-month high.

Greece has received €148 billion in loans from the IMF and EU.

Explainer: New elections? Euro exit? Just what is going on in Greece?>

Noonan urges Greek parties to form government and stay in the euro>

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