LONDON, March 26 (BSS/AFP) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it would be "catastrophic" to allow Greece to leave the eurozone because of its debt problems, in a British television interview broadcast today.
She said Athens had a "long and arduous road" to recovery
after being forced to seek two international rescue packages, but
it would be a "huge political mistake to allow Greece to leave"
the single European currency.
"We have taken the decision to be in a currency union. This
is not only a monetary decision it is a political one," Merkel
said in a BBC interview, speaking in German through a translator.
"It would be catastrophic if we were to say (to) one of those
who have decided to be with us, 'We no longer want you.'
"Incidentally the (European Union) treaties don't allow for
that anyway. People all over the world would ask, 'Who will be
next?' The Euro area would be incredibly weakened."
Asked about the emergence of anti-German sentiment over
Berlin's leading role in dealing with the debt crisis, Merkel
said: "The European discussion over the euro has become almost
"We debate very harshly in our parliaments and we use tough
words. That has characterised Europe-wide debates too."
But she added: "Thankfully we have learnt to solve our
conflicts peacefully, to talk about them and to turn this crisis
In the interview with the BBC's "Newsnight" programme, Merkel
also reiterated her support for Britain's strong presence in the
EU, despite Prime Minister David Cameron's move to block a new
fiscal pact in December.
"Britain needs to know that we in Germany want a strong
Britain in the EU, we always have and we always will," she said.