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

Attending a summit in Brussels, Michael Noonan says it is “very important that the eurozone stays intact”.

"Coalitions are the norm, that's the route that should be followed."

THE MINISTER FOR FINANCE has urged the leaders of Greece’s political parties to resolve their differences and form a coalition, so that the country can do whatever it needs to remain in the eurozone.

Michael Noonan told reporters in Brussels that he would encourage the parties in Greece – which are today holding their eighth day of talks in an effort to form a governing coalition after elections last week – to form a government without delay.

“Elections can throw up strange results at times, and then the political parties have an obligation to form a government,” the minister said.

“I’d encourage them [... to] pledge to implement the [bailout] programme with whatever variations they think are necessary.”

Asked if he would support such moves if it meant needing to bring Greece out of the eurozone, however, Noonan said it was “very important that the eurozone stays intact” and he would not favour seeing it leave.

Noonan declined to comment on the possibility of Greece having to leave the single currency, saying merely that any “adverse comment from the outside” would not be helpful for the country as it tried to end its political impasse.

“My view is that Greece should continue to stay in the euro, and any support I can give them at the meetings over the next two days to achieve that objective, I will do so.

“But they have to set their own house in order,” Noonan warned, remarking that the current problems facing the country were neither economic nor fiscal, but political.

“I don’t think a new election helps them – why have it all over again?” the minister wondered. “Coalitions are the norm, that’s the route that should be followed.”

Noonan is in Brussels to attend a meeting of Eurozone finance ministers today, and of the EU’s finance ministers tomorrow.

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Gavan Reilly

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