US President Barack Obama on Friday indicated that Greece ahead of crucial general elections on June 17, not to leave the eurozone, saying that it would cause more harm for the troubled economy, if they choose to leave the euro.
“With respect to Greece, which has important elections next weekend, we’ve said that it is in everybody’s interest for Greece to remain in the eurozone while respecting its commitments to reform,” he said in an appearance in the White House briefing room. “We recognize the sacrifices that the Greek people have made, and European leaders understand the need to provide support if the Greek people choose to remain in the eurozone. But the Greek people also need to recognize that their hardships will likely be worse if they choose to exit from the eurozone,” he said.
Obama expressed his concern about Europe, which faces a threat of renewed recession as countries deal with a financial crisis, urging the region’s leaders to strengthen the banking sector. Obama said his administration has tried not to scold European leaders.
In mentioning German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, Obama urged European leaders to pursue growth alongside austerity, noting that they have the support of the US, according to Kathimerni.
“Over the longer term, even as European countries with large debt burdens carry out necessary fiscal reforms, they’ve also got to promote economic growth and job creation. As some countries have discovered, it’s a lot harder to rein in deficits and debt if your economy isn’t growing. So it’s a positive thing that the conversation has moved in that direction, and leaders like Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande are working to put in place a growth agenda alongside responsible fiscal plans.”
Speaking after talks with New Zealand’s prime minister John Key, Merkel said on Friday: “What we have always said is that we want Greece to remain a member of the eurozone.”
“The precondition for that to succeed is that the future Greek government sticks to the memorandum that was agreed with the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and the European Commission,” she said according to AFP.
Greece holds a fresh round of elections on June 17 after May 6 elections left no party with enough votes for a majority in parliament and days of talks failed to resolve the country’s political deadlock.
“This memorandum is the foundation for a favourable development and we have to say that clearly to all those who are seeking election in Greece,” Merkel stressed.