Threat of Greek exit “considerable concern” for EU - Irish PM
By Sarah Collins | Wednesday 23 May 2012
Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny has said the threat of a Greek exit from the eurozone is of “considerable concern” to European politicians. Speaking ahead of an emergency summit of EU leaders, on 23 May, he said that Europe wanted to keep Greece in the single currency. “Clearly this is a matter of quite considerable concern, obviously, in the European Union, in the eurozone,” he said on his way into a pre-summit meeting of the European People’s Party, Europe’s centre-right umbrella group. “There’s a very strong willingness within the Greek population to stay in the euro and be a member of the eurozone. I think that’s also replicated in statements from the G8 and from the leaders of countries and governments in Europe,” he added.
He also called for immediate growth-boosting measures to help struggling economies beat the double-dip recession, saying that spending cuts alone would not work. “I see this as an opportunity not just to have the question of good budgetary rules being examined here, but to ally that with a very strong growth agenda that covers a very broad spectrum,” he said. He was joined in his appeal for growth by Greek Conservative leader Antonis Samaras, whose New Democracy party polled first in inconclusive 6 May elections. “In my country, recession and unemployment really had devastating effects on social fabric and cohesion,” Samaras said. “Therefore the results of the decisions that Europe will have to take in June on growth are crucial for Europe and critical for Greece.”
They were speaking ahead of an EU summit dedicated to growth and jobs, where new French President Francois Hollande was expected to renew calls for eurobonds and a financial transaction tax. Formal decisions on a growth plan are not expected until June.