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    Jul 08, 2015

    Grexit should be avoided: EU chief


    JEAN-CLAUDE Juncker, the European Union's (EU's) chief, said yesterday that he was against an exit by Greece from the euro zone, even though the Greeks rejected bailout terms in a referendum over the weekend.

    "My wish is that a 'Grexit' should be avoided," Mr Juncker told the European Parliament in Strasbourg just hours before an emergency summit in Brussels on the crisis.

    "There are those in the EU who, openly or otherwise, campaign for Greece to exit from the euro zone. My life tells me the simplistic answers are the wrong solutions," he said.

    He did not name Germany or its finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who has suggested the euro zone might be better off without Greece.

    But, speaking in German, he made clear his anger at his own critics in Germany, notably those who said he had no right to negotiate on behalf of the EU states.

    Finance ministers from the 19-nation euro zone were to meet in Brussels yesterday to review the situation before their leaders gathered later, amid mounting concern that Greece could crash out of the single-currency area and, possibly, even the EU.

    A Greek referendum on Sunday saw 61 per cent reject more austerity terms demanded by creditors in exchange for fresh funds desperately needed to keep the country afloat.

    Meanwhile, proposals that new Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos was to present to the Eurogroup yesterday do not differ significantly from the reform plans that Greeks rejected in a referendum on Sunday, Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported, without citing a source.