–Euro Exit Talk Complicates Greek Privatization Efforts

FRANKFURT (MNI) – Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said an
exit from the Eurozone would be “catastrophic” for Greece and could have
drastic consequences for other EMU members, according to an interview
with German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung released Wednesday evening.

Speaking during a whirlwind diplomatic tour and ahead of his
meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday, Samaras
criticized German politicians who have spoken openly of Greece exiting
the euro, arguing this complicates efforts to privatize state assets.

“How should I privatize state industries? What businessman would
invest euros with us if he might get repaid in drachma?” Samaras told
the paper.

Samaras said he would “guarantee personally” that EMU aid provided
to Greece will be paid back in full. He repeated that Greece needs two
more years to reach the 3% deficit-GDP target, but again stressed that
pushing the date to 2016 does not mean Greece will need a third bailout.

Samaras stood by the government’s plan to cut E11.5 billion from
its budget in each of the next two years, but also insisted Greece
needed to pivot back towards restoring growth.

“I have never seen the country in such bad shape. We now only have
one path. We must change course and gear everything towards growth,” he

Samaras warned that a Greek exit from the Eurozone would have
serious consequences for the continent, suggesting social unrest could
spread and warning of a “tsunami” of illegal immigrants out of Greece.

“An exit from the Eurozone would be catastrophic for us…it would
also be very bad for Europe,” Samaras said.

“The social unrest that such a situation would unleash in Greece
could infect other countries and unleash a deep trauma in Europe,”
Samaras said. “Greece finds itself in such an exposed location, that it
should not be destabilized.”

In a separate interview with Germany daily Bild Zeitung, Samaras
said he would like to invite Chancellor Merkel to Greece at some point
in the future.

“A visit by the chancellor to Greece could be very useful. I think,
it should come to that soon,” he said.

— Frankfurt bureau: +49 69 720 142; email: ccermak@mni-news.com —

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