Greek citizens not considering euro area walkout, business council says

Greek citizens not considering euro area walkout, business council says

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Greek citizens not considering euro area walkout, business council says

Greek bondholders march during a protest in front of the parliament in Athens May 18, 2012.

Some 70 percent of the Greek people want to keep the euro, according Dimitris Papanicolaou, the president of the Turkish-Greek Business Council, adding that political parties cannot turn a deaf ear to this voice.

Greece is set for another round of general elections in June, after the results of the May 6 elections produced a political deadlock, leaving the country without an elected government.

Greek people “punished” the largest two political parties in the general elections, Papanicolau told the Anatolia news agency during a recent interview. “If the existing parties ignore people’s demand to keep the euro, they might be punished likewise.”

Turkey presents a model for Greece to emerge from the economic crisis, he also said.

‘Open model before us’

“We have an open model before us. We have to take the steps that Turkey has already taken to resolve the crisis,” he said. “Unfortunately there were some politicians who employed people at government institutions in exchange for votes. Thus, the number of public servants surpassed 700,000. We are not as big as Turkey, we do not need that many public servants.”

Meanwhile, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said over the weekend that Greeks would not only be electing lawmakers in the elections, but also voting on whether their country stays in the eurozone,

“Europe is ready to help the Greek people ... But Europeans can’t do the work that Greece must do, that depends on the Greeks,” he told the Sunday edition of Greek Kathimerini.

Separately, a spokesman for Angela Merkel strongly denied yesterday that the German chancellor had suggested Greece hold a referendum on its eurozone membership at the same time as a general election.

“The fact is the chancellor did not propose a referendum and said nothing that could be misunderstood as such,” Georg Streiter insistently told a regular news conference, echoing similar flat denials last week.

On May 18 the Greek caretaker prime minister’s office said Merkel had suggested in a phone call to President Carolos Papoulias that Greece should submit its eurozone membership to a referendum, to be held alongside the general elections on June 17.