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Greece denies plan to leave eurozone and bring drachma back

Luxembourg’s prime minister dismissed suggestion as “a stupid idea”, while Greek government criticises the report as serving “speculative games”.

Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou at a press conference last month.
Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou at a press conference last month.
Image: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

GREECE HAS CRITICISED and dismissed a report that it is considering leaving the eurozone and reintroducing the drachma as its currency. The euro dropped by the most in one year against the dollar after the report broke on Der Spiegel online yesterday.

After a meeting of EU finance ministers in Luxembourg yesterday, Greek’s finance ministry issued a statement denying the report and saying there was no issue raised at the meeting over Greece’s eurozone participation.

The ministry criticised the “levity” and “provocation” of the report:

The report on an imminent Greek exit from the eurozone, as well as being untrue, has been written with incomprehensible levity despite the fact that this has been repeatedly denied by the Greek government, and the governments of other EU member states. Such reports are a provocation, undermine efforts by Greece and the euro and serve speculative games.

Eurogroup Chairman and prime minister of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker said that the possibility of Greece leaving the eurozone or restructing its debt were not discussed at yesterday’s meeting, Reuters reports. Commissioner Olli Rehn and ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet also attended the meeting.

“We have not been discussing the exit of Greece from the euro area, this is a stupid idea, it is in no way, it is an avenue we would never take,” Juncker said after the meeting.

However, the AFP reports that Greek media today say that Greek debt restructuring was covered at the meeting, including an extension to repayments of debt held by banks. They also claim that a potential postponement of deficit reduction targets came up at the meeting.

Juncker said that Greek debt restructuring would be discussed at another meeting in on 16 May.

- Additional reporting by the AP

Read: Greece ‘considers exiting euro zone’ but European officials deny crisis talks >

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