"Grexit" Would Cost Europe A Trillion Euros

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Greece's finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis has accused Greece's creditors of "terrorism" for trying to "instill fear in people" ahead of a referendum on whether to accept the harsh terms of an international bailout designed to keep Athens in the eurozone.

In an interview with the Spanish daily El Mundo, Varoufakis said that there was too much at stake for his country to be thrown out of Europe's common currency — "as much for Greece as for Europe, I'm sure."

Syriza, the left wing, anti-austerity party swept to power in January on a platform against making concessions to the country's creditors. The party urged the people of Greece to vote no in tonight's referendum. 

If Greece crashes, a trillion euros (the equivalent of Spain’s GDP) will be lost. It’s too much money and I don’t believe Europe could allow it.

— Yanis Varoufakis in El Mundo

 

"Why have they forced us to close the banks? To frighten people. And when it's about spreading terror, that is known as terrorism," he added.

The tough talk comes after a weeklong bank holiday in Greece and the imposition of capital controls designed to prevent a collapse of the country's economy as citizens rush to withdraw euros.

Meanwhile, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble appeared to suggest that a no vote would not necessarily trigger a permanent "Grexit" from the common currency regime.

"Greece is a member of the eurozone. There's no doubt about that," Schaeuble told Bild in an interview. "Whether with the euro or temporarily without it: Only the Greeks can answer this question. And it is clear that we will not leave the people in the lurch."

With two-thirds of ballots counted, results from the Greek referendum show voters decisively rejecting the terms of an international bailout.

Figures published by the interior ministry showed 61% of those whose ballots had been counted voting "No", against 39% voting "Yes".

Greek government officials have insisted that a "No" vote would strengthen their hand and that they could rapidly strike a deal for fresh funding in resumed negotiations.

Greek banks will reopen by Tuesday, they say.

Reacting to the result, Varoufakis called it "a big yes to a democratic Europe".

He said Greece would be "positive" in negotiations with its creditors.

 

Daniel Dixon