Greece Can’t Be Compelled to Stay in the Euro, Schaeuble Says

European governments cannot force
Greece to stay in the euro if Greek citizens decide to leave,
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said.

“They will decide whether to stay in the euro zone or
not,” Schaeuble said at a conference sponsored by German
broadcaster WDR in Brussels today. “If Greece decides not to
stay in the euro zone, we cannot force Greece.”

Comments by European Central Bank Executive Board member
Joerg Asmussen in a Handelsblatt interview today were “not
new,” Schaeuble added. Asmussen was cited as saying that Greece
had “no alternative” than to stick to the terms of its bailout
program “if it wants to remain a member of the euro zone.”

Greek political chiefs are struggling to forge a coalition
after May 6 elections called into question the country’s ability
to impose the steps agreed on with international creditors in
return for aid. The risk of Greece leaving the euro by the end
of 2013 has risen to as high as 75 percent, Citigroup Inc. (C) (C) said
May 7.

Germany will continue to “show solidarity” with Greece as
long as it sticks to its commitments to revamp the economy, said
Michael Meister, the deputy leader in parliament of Chancellor
Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union.

“We assume that Greece, as a precondition for more
solidarity, will continue to work on improving fiscal policy,
competitiveness and growth,” Meister told reporters in Berlin.
“We assume that those carrying responsibility in Athens will
live up to their responsibilities.”

Meister said “we are of the opinion that nobody in the
club of euro countries should be shown the door.”

Abide by Rules

Merkel took up the theme without naming Greece, telling
reporters that euro countries “have to abide by the agreed
programs and the agreed rules so the euro area can work.”

The election of Greek political parties that want to
renegotiate bailout terms and the victory of Socialist Francois Hollande as French president are the latest challenges to
confront Merkel 2 1/2 years after the debt crisis first emerged.

Schaeuble, speaking to reporters after the WDR forum, said
that the agreements with Greece were decided by the so-called
troika of the ECB, the European Commission and the International
Monetary Fund. “Any doubt cast on them would immediately
trigger catastrophic uncertainty in the financial market,” he
said.

“There is no lack of solidarity,” Schaeuble said. “But
Greece can’t be spared this consolidation. That is clear and
that’s why the vast majority of Greeks want to stay in the euro
zone, because the Greeks know that the alternatives for Greece
wouldn’t be pleasant.”

Impact on Investment

German investment in Greece may suffer as a result of the
instability, Hans-Peter Keitel, president of the BDI Federation
of German Industries, told a separate briefing in Berlin. The
BDI, which represents companies including Daimler AG (DAI) and Siemens
AG (SIE), said in July that German investment in Greece had a
potential value of 50 billion euros ($65 billion).

“We can’t tell any German entrepreneur what kind of
medium-term investment conditions he can expect there,” Keitel
said. “As long as there are no stable political conditions in
Greece and no commitment to Europe that’s unequivocal and clear,
the question of investments in Greece of course is incredibly
difficult.”

To contact the reporters on this story:
James G. Neuger in Brussels at
[email protected];
Rainer Buergin in Berlin at
[email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
James Hertling at [email protected]


Optimistic Outlook for Greek Holidays in 2012, say Holiday Hypermarket


LONDON, May 4, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ —
According to leading online travel retailer, Holiday Hypermarket, Greek holidays will see moderate growth this summer-

Greek tourism is tipped to see moderate growth in 2012 due to lower airfares and attractive rates in island destinations like Crete, Mykonos and Corfu, say leading online travel retailer, Holiday Hypermarket. This follows statements from Taleb Rifai, secretary general of the U.N. World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), who affirmed Greece’s popularity as a tourism destination.

In 2011, around 10 per cent more travellers booked Greek holidays, and with tourism accounting for 15 per cent of the economy as well as one in five jobs, it is a crucial aspect of the Greek way of life. As a result, both the mainland and surrounding islands boast a large number of holiday resorts with great facilities.

Greek tourism bodies have launched campaigns to promote tourism abroad. For example, UP Greek Tourism is an initiative that employs outdoor advertising, traditional and social media to promote inbound tourism, particularly among German and British travellers who are eager visitors to Greece’s coastal and island resorts.

Calum MacDonald, Online Marketing Manager at Holiday Hypermarket, comments, “Greece is slowly climbing into the top 10 tourist destinations in the world with plenty to offer families, honeymooning couples and young friends looking for a party destination.

“Tourism resorts on the coast are continuing to provide excellent package holidays to visitors from abroad no matter the political situation. As one of the most attractive countries in southern Europe, Greece is a great place to book a beach holiday this summer.”

About Holiday Hypermarket:

Holiday Hypermarket (
http://www.holidayhypermarket.co.uk/ ) is a UK based holiday comparison community. We are passionate about helping people in the UK explore, learn and enjoy the world by removing the obstacles that keep them from getting the most out of their holidays. We do this by providing a completely independent travel comparison site that allows you to effortlessly find the best deals with the assistance of a knowledgeable community of fellow travellers who love to share travel advice.

With Holiday Hypermarket you have access to a huge number of travel suppliers which will help you put together flexible, restriction free, itineraries. This, combined with our excellent customer service and vibrant online community, makes Holiday Hypermarket a great place to start exploring the world.

SOURCE Holiday Hypermarket

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