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EU's Moscovici wants Greece in euroAthens

31 jan BBC

Greece belongs in the eurozone and the single currency depends on there being no “Grexit”, the EU economic and financial affairs commissioner says.

Pierre Moscovici told the BBC's Hardtalk “we will do everything” to prevent Greece leaving the eurozone.But he said the Greek government had to respect previous commitments. The new finance minister has meanwhile said he will not negotiate bailout terms with the “troika” - the global institutions overseeing Greek debt.The left-wing Syriza party won last weekend's election on an anti-austerity platform, promising to have half of Greece's debt written off, and to roll back on deep cuts to jobs, pay and pensions.

”We believe that the place of Greece is in the eurozone, the euro needs Greece and that Greece needs and wants to be in the eurozone,” Mr Moscovici, a former French finance minster, said.He added: “We feel that it's very important for the stability of the eurozone and for the credibility of the euro that there is no ‘Grexit'. This is why we will do everything that is needed to avoid it.” But the commissioner said that while Europe had to respect the will of the Greek people, following last Sunday's election that swept Syriza to power, the commitments made by the previous Greek government also had to be taken into account.” We must address these issues in a quiet, peaceful and serene way.

This [new] government has to say exactly what it intends to do,” Moscovici said. After meeting with the head of eurozone group of finance ministers, the new Greek finance minister said he would not work with the troika - the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund - calling them “a committee built on rotten foundations”. Greek economy in numbers:Average wage is €600 (£450: $690) a month,Unemployment is at 25%, with youth unemployment almost 50%,Economy has shrunk by 25% since the start of the eurozone crisis, Country's debt is 175% of GDP,Borrowed €240bn (£188bn) from the EU, the ECB and the IMF.

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